Area student attends Hugh O'Brian leaders' conference

Friday, July 26, 2002

When 16-year-old Brandon Bueter embarked on a recent trip to Washington D.C., he knew it would be a life changing experience.

He wasn't disappointed. The Glennon, Mo., resident took part in a weeklong world leadership conference at George Washington University that ends today, which he says gave him a new outlook on life.

Between trips to the Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Hill, Brandon and 380 other students from 20 different countries attended seminars and held panel discussions with top CEOs, scholars and government officials.

An incoming junior at Leopold High School, Brandon was chosen to attend the conference in Washington after his classmates voted for him to go to the state leadership seminar in Columbia, Mo.

At the state level, he and other Missouri teens wrote an essay and underwent performance evaluations. Brandon was picked from 15 finalists for an all-expenses paid trip to Washington to attend the conference.

Established by veteran actor Hugh O'Brian, the annual Hugh O'Brian Youth World Leadership Congress gives high school sophomores an opportunity to interact with today's top movers and shakers in business, government and education.

For Brandon, one of the most important aspects of the trip has been interacting with students from different cultural backgrounds.

"We've connected on such a level that we've found we're all similar in some way," he said. "Meeting people from around the world has given me a new respect for different cultures and religions."

While the conference ends today, Brandon said that he'll be able to use what he learned throughout the rest of his life.

"I feel like when I return to Missouri I can make a difference by providing leadership in my community," Brandon said. "The conference helped me gain self confidence about my plans for the future. The conference brings out qualities you might have had before."

cchitwood@semissourian.com

335-6611, ext. 128

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