Liam Aitchison conquered his shyness by joining an international leadership programme.
The New Plymouth Boys' High School student is heading to the United States for a 10-day Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) to learn and further polish leadership skills.
Liam will join 25 other students from Francis Douglas Memorial College, New Plymouth Boys' High School and New Plymouth Girls' High School for the conference.
GYLC is a leadership development programme for "motivated and accomplished" students across America and more than 145 countries.
Visits to the White House, the Museum of Modern Art, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are also on the itinerary.
Liam said he was quite a shy person and signed up for the programme because he wanted to step up on the leadership platform.
Joining up was hard as it took "a bit more courage" than he thought was needed, he said.
But he was excited at the prospect of meeting people from different cultures and nationalities.
"I really hope to be able to meet more people," Liam said.
Equally excited about the conference is Libby Wichman of New Plymouth Girls' High School.
She said it was something she had wanted to do for a long time.
"I'm always interested in leadership and growing as a leader," she said.
Libby was inspired to give it a go after hearing friends "rave about it" and set to work fundraising the $9500 needed for the trip.
"They said it was one of the best experiences of their lives," she said.
Vanshay Bindra, of Francis Douglas, said the main thing was meeting people from around the world.
The students were yesterday made honorary ambassadors of the district by New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd.
- Taranaki Daily News
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