COVINGTON, Ga. - Brady Marbut, a seventh-grade student at Cousins Middle School, is going to Washington, DC this weekend. There he will participate in a five-day Junior National Young Leaders Conference along with about 50 other middle school students.
Marbut is excited. He sees the conference as an opportunity that will help him get into the college of his choice and eventually achieve his goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. His step-mother participated in a past year and told Marbut the experience helped her get into college. She is now a vice-president for Georgia Pacific in Atlanta.
The conference’s five-day agenda includes experiential learning activities, keynote speakers, and tours around the Washington area. Marbut is most looking forward to a crisis simulation activity called “My Day in Office.”
This will be the first time Marbut will be on his own away from family, a circumstance that his mother, Kelly Marbut of Oxford, says is the hardest part for her.
The conference is offered by Envision which, according to its Better Business Bureau profile, is a non-partisan, for-profit company. The cost to Marbut for his participation is $2,400; a sum that includes airfare, materials, food, and lodging at the National 4-H Conference Center.
Andrew Potter, Envision’s chief academic officer, stated in a recent press release that the goal of the conference is to enable “students to recognize their own leadership abilities in the context of great men and women from the past and present. They return home with new confidence in their ability to make a positive impact in their school and communities."
Envision’s website indicates acceptance into its programs is based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and career aspirations.
“I received an email regarding the conference and was asked to nominate students I felt fit the criteria,” Jennifer Norris, Marbut’s fifth-grade teacher at Flint Hills Elementary School, said. “Brady was one of the students I nominated. He fit the leadership qualification with flying colors. He was a perfect role model to his fellow students by always working hard, striving for perfection, and led by example. He was one of our top students with a personality to match.”
Marbut had no idea he had been nominated until he received a letter in October inviting him to participate in the conference.