A Russian Experience
During June and July of 1990, two of my students and I had the opportunity
to become ambassadors to the U.S.S.R. as participants in the People to People
Youth Science Exchange. The students were Nikki Atkinson and Brad Huddleston
from Henry County High School, Paris, Tennessee.
Henry County High School
Paris, Tennessee 38242
The Applied Science delegation of which Brad and Nikki were members consisted
of 24 students from California, Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland,
Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The students were accompanied by three teacher
leaders from the states of Kentucky (I live in Murray), California, and
The program consisted of two days of orientation and sight-seeing in Washington,
D.C., four days of sight-seeing and attending opening ceremonies for the
People to People program, fifteen days at the science campu in Gorky, and
two days of sight-seeing in Leningrad and Petrograd.
The touring and sight-seeing in Moscow included the Kremlin, Moscow Circus,
Moscow ballet, Red Square, the Lenin Mausoleum and two cathedrals within
the Kremlin walls.
The Hermitage and the Summer Pallace were toured during the students' stay
in Leningrad and Petrograd.
The centerpiece of the program was the science camp in Gorky. This time
was divided between lectures by outstanding scientists from Gorky Region,
hands on laboratory experience at the Gorky Research Institute and the Gorky
Instrument Making Institute and cultural activities.
The cultural activities included performance by folklore dancers, singers,
a childrens' band, ballroom dancers, attendance at a Neil Simon play with
twelve interpreters, and tours of the Gorky Museum, Art Gallery and of the
city itself. One day was spent at a 1700's folklore village where the students
attended a Russian tea and were entertained with music of the period.
During the stay in Gorky, the students went sailing on the Volga and traveled
by passenger boat to tour an ancient monastery on teh banks of the Volga.
The highlight of the science camp in Gorky was the homestays. During the
homestays teacher leaders and students were invited to spend two days with
As the first Americans in 70 years to be allowed to travelunescorted in
the city of Gorky, the delegation was treated to a memorable farewell at
the Gorky Region Airport.
The 30 Russian students, the 12 interpreters, the homestay parents and many
members of the staff at the science camp were present to wish the Americans
farewell. Students and teacher leaders were presented small gifts, baskets
of food and bouqets of flowers. Many hugs and addresses were also exchanged.
Anyone that observed the airport farewell would agree that we had accomplished
our role as ambassadors - both the Russians the the Americans.
For the second year I will be a delegation leader with the People to People
Youth Science Exchange. The program is for high school students that have
an interest in science, travel and people that have a different culture.
Students that apply for the program should be good students but do not have
to be straight A students. It is more important that they are mature and
able to adjust to new situations. This year 300 high school students will
have the opportunity to travel to the USSR.
The students that traveled last year returned with a deeper understanding
of our freedom and opportunities as well as a better understanding of the