Schmitt earns invite to leadership program in D.C. - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Schmitt earns invite to leadership program in D.C.

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Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:47 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - In her own words - as quietly and seldom as they come - Halle Schmitt isn't the vocal type.

The girl who just wrapped up her sixth-grade year at Garwood Elementary School isn't the rah-rah type, nor is she one to hold court over a group of peers and boom orders.

By her own admission, she's the speak-softly type.

"I'm always quiet. I don't really take charge all the time," she said in the kitchen of her Athol home, before adding: "I'm just there."

But leaders come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors. Shouting and clapping in the middle of a huddle doesn't necessarily a leader make. And as the old saying paraphrases, it's what you deliver in the end, not preach beforehand, to which others respond.

That's the kind of leader Halle's aiming to be.

"She's that quiet one that does everything right," said Robin Lenz, the teacher at Garwood Elementary School who nominated Halle for the People to People Leadership Ambassador Program to which Halle was accepted and will be traveling to Washington, D.C., with 83 other students from around the world for a crash course in leadership training. "(Leaders) do everything you ask, they do it with excitement, and she does everything over and above what you ask."

Getting accepted to the program was a shock to Halle considering she'd wasn't even aware her teacher had nominated her. Halfway through the school year Halle, who also earned first place in her age group in this year's Invent Idaho State Competition, received a letter at home congratulating her.

The next day, she hugged and thanked her teacher.

"It was an honor," she said. "I was confused why she chose me at first."

The 2012 World Leadership Forum will be held July 8-15 in the nation's capital. The schedule includes seminars on understanding the U.S. government, and history lesson trips to Philadelphia and New York City. There's an event at the White House, where the Schmitt family is hoping to meet President Barack Obama.

"I really want to learn more about our country, how it was made," she said, adding she was a bit nervous as she prepares to meet legislators and higher-ups in the political world. "I want to show that Idaho has something to show."

Halle's parents, Yvonne Marie Rodriguez and Jason Schmitt, are as excited as their daughter. They were making summer plans for an out-of-country trip when the letter came and changed all that, which was fine by them.

"It turned out to be a good letter," Jason Schmitt said.

In New York, Halle is hoping to catch a Broadway show, one of her passions. She's learning to play the piano, likes to write creatively, and math, she admitted, is growing on her. Her goal is to go to Gonzaga University and work for Apple one day. All that is ahead of her, and Lenz said the trip will offer the perfect opportunity for Halle to tap into her leadership qualities.

"It's going to be huge," Lenz said of the opportunity. "Those (former participating) kids in that program shine whenever anyone mentions it."

Already, it's been quite the year for the quiet leader. Halle earned the President's Education Awards Program for Outstanding Academic Achievement and the High Honor Roll and Citizenship award at her school. And her winning invention at the state competition was a board game designed to get kids to exercise and play.

And at the end of the day, all those accolades speak for Halle, regardless of what the 12-year-old says herself.

"I was blown away," she said of her reaction that her teacher thought she'd make the perfect leader. "When (the letter) said, 'You're invited to Washington D.C.,' I was flabbergasted."

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  • Avy posted at 7:11 am on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    Avy Posts: 17

    Very interesting post... something really informative... I wish to read something like this again... we keep coming back to your blog..
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  • GarwoodMom posted at 11:51 am on Mon, Jul 2, 2012.

    GarwoodMom Posts: 12

    Halle is one of the many talented students from Garwood and other Lakeland schools that have earned awards for good grades and participation in extracurricular events like Invent Idaho. Several of Halle's peers were nominated to participate in the People to People program as well, so at least a few more are planning trips to Washington, D.C., in the coming year thanks to Ms. Lenz. Such a great opportunity for all of them. Way to go Lakeland students!!

  • Joseph Jr posted at 7:04 am on Mon, Jul 2, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    This is wonderful! What a truly lovely young lady.

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