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Monday, January 21, 2008

Platt Tech students get a chance to go Down Under

Students to head for Australia
By Tanner Munroe
Special to the Register
— Two Platt Technical High School students will get the experience of a lifetime this summer.
They will travel to Australia as student ambassadors in a program called People to People.
Christopher Dunn, 17, of Milford, and Ashley Salter, 16, of West Haven were both anonymously nominated by teachers and staff at Platt to participate in the program.
The program lasts 20 days, with the students traveling across the country and getting the chance to experience different aspects of the rich culture and environment that Australia has to offer. Some of these experiences include swimming with dolphins, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, scaling the 440-foot summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and tobogganing down a sand dune.
However, the experience that Dunn said he is looking forward to the most is the four to five days that the students get to spend with an Aborigine tribe, the Navau.
"I’m hoping to gain a lot of knowledge about their culture, and I also hope to gain an understanding of how differently from Americans the people in the tribe live their lives," he said.
Dunn said he also feels it will be interesting to see if there are similarities between the two cultures.
During the trip, the students will be studying and learning about the history and culture of Australia from their guides. Dunn said the trip will give him useful knowledge he can utilize in college, where he intends to study history.
Salter said the trip is an opportunity to learn about a different culture and gain knowledge and friends that she will carry with her for the rest of her life.
"It’s an honor to be chosen as an ambassador to represent America, and also Connecticut. I think it will be great to not only learn from people in Australia about their culture, but also to share aspects of American culture in return," she said.
Although the students are extremely excited about the trip, they also fear they might not be able to afford it. The trip will cost each of them around $8,000, and although a steep price, both students feel it is more than worth it for the activities they will be able to participate in, and the enormous amount of knowledge they will gain.
Both students have taken on jobs to help finance the trip. They also have gathered some money through fundraising and donations. The students plan to create a Web site when they get back that will document the activities and experiences they had while in Australia, through journal entries and pictures.
Anyone who wants to make a donation or find out more information about the student’s trip, can contact Platt spokesman Tony Tom at (203) 783-5349.



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