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Today's word on journalism

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dueling masters on words:

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

--William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962), on Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

--Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961), on William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962)

Mountain Crest students at Valley Forge for freedom and leadership gathering

By David Baker

March 10, 2006 | PARADISE -- It's a long way to Valley Forge, Pa., from Paradise, Utah, but Ashley Dymock and Stacie Coombs are excited to make the trip. Dymock and Coombs, who are juniors at Mountain Crest High School, were two of the 50 students selected from Utah to go to the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

"I just like to get out and see what's out there. Learning about it just gets me excited," Dymock said.

"Just being in a famous historic spot and meeting people from across the nation will be exciting," Coombs said. "I hope I can come back with something I can teach people about America."

The girls will be at Valley Forge through Sunday, and will go on tours of historic sites such as Colonial Philadelphia, and attend a banquet, a leadership carnival and a dance. Students from all over the nation will be in attendance. So along with the other activities, each student has to bring small items from their state to trade with students from other states. Coombs said it is so everyone can have "a little piece of America." To represent Utah the girls said they were taking CTR rings, Utah State University pens, saltwater taffy and Anasazi beans.

The girls went through a lengthy process to get selected. They had to fill out an application, write an essay entitled "Freedom Isn't Free," get letters of recommendation and go to an interview in Salt Lake City. To ease some of the trip's $750 cost, Dymock said the Utah chapter of the Freedoms Foundation gives each person a $450 scholarship, meaning each student only pays $300.

During their stay in Valley Forge, the girls will be assigned a roommate from another part of the country.

"I don't want someone from Idaho or Colorado. I want someone from back East," Coombs said.

"I don't want someone too wild," Dymock said.

Coupled with roommate worries, this is the first time either girl has traveled outside of the western United States. Dymock, who went to Pearl Harbor last summer, said, "I saw the reverence there. I'm expecting the same feeling. At the same time, I don't know what to expect. I'm kind of nervous."

During the girls' tour of Colonial Philadelphia, they will also get a chance to experience big city life. "We get to see the old parts of it and the new ones," Coombs said. "It's got to be bigger than Salt Lake or Phoenix, and definitely bigger than the Cache Valley."

The responsibilities of this trip last longer than the three days the girls spend at Valley Forge. Dymock said, because they were selected to go on the trip, they will be co-presidents of the Freedom Club at Mountain Crest next year. The Freedom Club is responsible for holding an assembly during the week of President's Day to honor school-wide heroes, which usually include one student from each grade and a teacher.

Their presidential duties will add to a full schedule of extra-curricular activities, as both girls are also members of the Key Club, a service organization at Mountain Crest. Dymock also plays basketball, runs cross-country and is in the choir. Coombs has played soccer and softball at Mountain Crest, and still plays club soccer. She said she had to stop playing softball so she could focus on academics. "It's hard to keep good grades and play a sport," Coombs said.

Good grades haven't been a problem. The girls manage to maintain 4.0 grade point averages, while managing their extra-curricular activities and taking hard classes -- Dymock is in AP U.S. history, and Coombs is taking a college business class. They enjoy their hard classes, though. "It's hard to go back to regular classes," Coombs said.

Looking down the road, both girls see college in their future.

"I kind of want to do everything," Dymock said. She would like to go to Brigham Young University in Provo and major in international relations, with a minor in business. "I've got to get out of Cache Valley, so I can actually come back home," she said. "If I lived in Provo, I would definitely come to USU."

"Of everyone that applied, I was the oddball out. I was the only one who doesn't do the history thing. I want to be a doctor," Coombs said. She is planning on going to Weber State University in Ogden, to study radiology. "I don't want to go too far from home," she said.

According to their website, the Freedoms Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established in 1949 and has 30 chapters throughout the nation. Their goal is to teach young people the principles upon which the United States was founded. They hold educational trips and teach kids about the Constitution and its relevance today. For more information on Freedoms Foundation, go to


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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