Kiresten Gibson, 12, never imagined she would ever get a chance to visit the nation's capital.
She always wanted to go, but didn't think it would happen anytime soon. Gibson went to Staunton Elementary School and now attends North Clay Middle School.
At Staunton Elementary, her fifth-grade teacher was impressed with Gibson's grades and nominated her for the People to People Leadership Forum.
Gibson said she was a straight "A" student and the teacher wanted to do something for her because she did so well. Gibson said she found out she was accepted and was going to Washington.
"I was really excited," she said. "I never thought it would happen. I always wanted to go."
Gibson said she was the only fifth-grader and student from a public school to be nominated.
She got to spend spring break in the nations capital and her parents accompanied her. She was there from Monday-Sunday.
She said she got to visit the memorials and museums. Some places she got to visit were the Lincoln Memorial, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, the Capital Building and other famous places, but did not get to go to the White House. Gibson said she enjoyed the experience and what she learned.
She received a certificate from the forum and sometime in the future she gets to meet Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh.
Amy Gibson, Kiresten's mother, said she is so proud of her daughter and what she has accomplished. She said it is an honor to have her daughter be the only fifth-grader to be nominated and get to go to the forum.
According to the People to People Leadership Forum website, the forum is a part of the People to People Ambassador Programs, which enables students with great academics from middle school, junior high and high school to visit the nation's capital and attend the leadership forum.
The program got its start in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with leaders to discuss ways to bring the people together and help them understand the processes of the government. After that, People to People Programs began. Since 2001, nearly 18,000 students from all over the United States and the world have visited the leadership forum because of their great academics.
For more information on the forum or to nominate a student, visit www.wlfleaders.org.