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Written by Daniels County Leader Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:04
Andrew Mitchell, a rising senior, and former Daniels County resident, Linda Safty Unsworth, school counselor, both from Helena High School, were selected as one of 12 student/educator teams from public schools across the nation for the prestigious Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute. As Bezos Scholars, the student/educator teams received all-expenses-paid, travel and six days at the Aspen Ideas Festival (AIF) in Aspen, Colorado, recenly.
In Aspen, Andrew and Linda took part in all AIF offerings, and shared scholars-only meals and
conversations with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the founders of Twitter, Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp, Justice Stephen Breyer, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, NY Times columnist David Brooks, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, and many more notables.
Following their time in Aspen, the student/educator scholar teams return home, inspired by their experiences at AIF, to create Local Ideas Festivals in their schools and communities. The scholars are encouraged to create festivals based on their passions and issues of relevance in their school and communities.
To date, the Foundation has offered $1,000 seed grants to 54 first-time festivals and 23 continuation festivals. The scholars program was founded in 2005 and the first Local Ideas Festivals were launched in 2006.
“When scholars return home inspired by the Aspen Ideas Festival, they put their learning into action by teaming up to create sustainable Local Ideas Festivals,” says Jackie Bezos, president of the Bezos Family Foundation. “These festivals, in turn, create a ripple effect that is transformative for schools and communities across the U.S.”