MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

July 14, 2014

For love of history: Girl raises money to attend forum

Sixth-grader Carlee Fugate believes she has found the right places to indulge her love of history.

Carlee, 11, has the opportunity to explore sites in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., next summer through the People to People World Leadership Forum.

People to People offers students opportunities to develop leadership skills, learn history and develop global awareness.

The 2015 World Leadership Forum will offer students in fifth through eighth grades opportunities to meet members of Congress and explore historic and cultural sites.

“I’ve never been to New York City. Some of the things there interest me,” Carlee said. “And I want to see the John F. Kennedy grave site.”

Carlee said history is her favorite school subject.

“I loved taking history in the fifth grade and learning about how America was founded.

“At the end of the year, we learned about the Revolutionary War,” she said. “I like learning about people in the past and how we got to be how we are now.”

Fort Gibson Intermediate Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Renee Cherry nominated Carlee for the program.

She said Carlee has the academic and leadership skills the People to People program seeks.

“She is not one to follow behind everybody else,” Cherry said. “She takes charge of situations and she thinks outside the box.”

Cherry said she nominates a student each year for People to People, but only a few get chosen.

“I know of only one of my students who has gone to the conference,” she said.

Tuition for the four-day forum is $2,795, which includes food, lodging and admission to sites. Participants also must pay for their own transportation to the forum.

However, Cherry said the program is worth the effort.

“It will just help her hone her leadership skills and give her contacts for college,” she said, adding that Carlee is “taking charge” and raising her money to go.

Carlee makes crafts and sells them at the Fort Gibson Farmer’ Market each Thursday afternoon at Langston Park.

Crafts include beaded necklaces, painted dishes, cloth potholders and items made with patterned duct tape.

Carlee’s craft booth enables her to indulge another passion — making things, said Carlee’s mother, Teresa Fugate-Kassaw.

“When she was little, her nickname was ‘Tinkerbell’ because she would tinker with everything,” Fugate-Kassaw said. “The child sits in her room a majority of the time.”

A sign outside Carlee’s room says “Warning: I’m busy crafting. Leave me alone.”

Carlee said she started doing crafts even before she got selected for the forum.

She said she is looking forward to spending four days visiting museums, memorials and the U.S. Capitol. She said she especially looks forward to learning.

“I’m not one of those people who dreads going to school,” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogee phoenix.com.

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