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Two Falcon students – young and outstanding

Falcon students Chelsey Vollendorff and Miranda Hill have excelled as leaders – one in academics and the other in athletics. Chelsey VollendorffAs an eighth grader at Falcon Middle School last year, Chelsey Vollendorff was nominated by a teacher to attend the Congressional Youth Leadership Conference in Denver. She was accepted and attended the four-day conference. As a result, she is now invited to participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference this January in Washington D.C.”It’s a pretty prestigious program. Less than 1 percent of students get accepted,” said Chelsey’s father, Tony Strout. The qualifications are high grades and displaying maturity and leadership skills, he said.PYIC is held every four years, and Strout said the conference itinerary includes meetings with national journalists, congressional staff, leading political experts and a presidential candidate. The scholars will also attend inauguration events, such as the swearing-in ceremony, parade and an inaugural ball.According to the PYIC Web site, the program “is designed to educate, motivate and inspire students by giving them a deeper understanding of the electoral history of the United States, as well as their roles in democracy.”Strout said his daughter’s once in a lifetime experience will cost more than $4,000 for the conference, airfare and miscellaneous items like a dress for the inaugural ball. He plans to hold fundraisers in the fall to help offset the cost of the program.Chelsey said she is looking forward to the conference and is preparing by paying more attention to news and world events. From what she’s learned, she hopes to see John McCain take the oath of office. Because of Chelsey’s leadership skills, which caught the attention of teacher Meg Goad, two new school clubs were formed: Where Everybody Belongs and Pride Patrol. WEB helped new students adjust by providing school tours. Pride Patrol assisted with school clean up and sponsored fundraisers for charitable organizations such as the Falcon Food Bank.As she gets ready to begin her freshman year at Falcon High School, Chelsey said she’s a little bit nervous but also looking forward to meeting new people and becoming more independent. She plans to sing in show choir and play soccer and basketball.Miranda HillMiranda Hill is 9 years old and is an enthusiast for jumping rope. In August, she traveled with her team, Just Jump!, to Detroit, Mich., to compete in the Junior Olympics.”The thing I like best is you get to have fun, meet different teams and do tricks,” Miranda said. Her favorite trick is the side-swing triple, where the jumper leaps into the air and swings the rope to the right and left before hitting the ground.More than 500 athletes from the United States, Australia and Singapore competed in jump roping. Miranda qualified in four events in the 9-10 age bracket. She won a third place medal for her individual power jump by jumping 212 times in 60 seconds. She also won eighth and 10th place ribbons for her individual speed jumps and pairs power jumps.”It’s just like the Olympics with opening and closing ceremonies and medal ceremonies,” said Julie Hill, Miranda’s mom. “It was a lot of fun.”Hill said Miranda joined the jump rope team a year ago after Just Jump! Coach Lori Dion made a presentation at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy. Since then, Miranda has trained nine hours a week working on technique, speed, dance and gymnastic moves.”Miranda is in incredible shape,” Hill said. “Her muscles are defined and she has amazing stamina. She is definitely dedicated to it and is staying a good, long time.”Miranda will attend Junior Nationals next year, Hill said, adding that it’s a bigger event than Junior Olympics.

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