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
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
Looking down the road, both girls see college in their
"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
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 www.freedomsfoundation.com.