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Overseas Destinations Beckon Local Teens
They won't be on American soil to celebrate the nation's birthday, but a trio of Escalon teens will take the trade off, as they will be busy serving as young American ambassadors overseas come July.

Escalon High freshmen Emma Baumhauer and Sammy Little, along with El Portal eighth grade student Daniel Alcantor, are participating in the People to People program, an effort originally started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"My cousin went to Australia last year," Alcantor noted of how he heard about the program. "President Eisenhower formed this to promote world peace."

Just a few days away from his 14th birthday on Feb. 10, Alcantor is looking forward to traveling to France, Italy and Greece during a 20-day tour.

"You get recommended for it," he said of the program. "Then you have to go to interviews."

You also have to raise money, in Alcantor's case, about $6,600 for the three-country tour.

"I told my parents they didn't have to pay for any of it," Alcantor said.

His goal, he added, is to meet new people during the trip and learn firsthand about the different countries he will be visiting. He will be on the Middle School tour group, traveling with students from other schools in the Central Valley.

"I'm really exited about going to Paris," he said. "Three countries in 20 days, it's pretty cool."

He'll room with a different person at each hotel, so the students in the group all get to know each other. They are already working toward that, he said, with monthly meetings with other students involved in the trip.

"I've asked for sponsorship from businesses," he added.

His parents are Robert and Tammy Alcantor.

The young student will also be doing a lot of writing on the trip, keeping a journal of his experiences. He's also working with his Escalon High counterparts, the three of them getting ready to host a fundraising Bunco Night on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Escalon United Methodist Church on Jackson Avenue.