Puchino hopes to explore big world during summer

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By Mallory Bilger

MOUNT WASHINGTON " Mallori Puchino knows there is a big world outside the city limits of Mount Washington, and she intends to educate herself about it every opportunity she gets.

This Bullitt East High School senior has committed herself to being globally minded and recently earned the opportunity to expand her knowledge of international affairs this summer in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY.

Puchino was selected to participate in the Global Young Leaders Conference through the Congressional Youth Leadership Council this summer. The GYLC gives youth 15-18 years old broader knowledge of global ambassadorship and world affairs. According to the GYLC Web site, participants will gain knowledge in global communications, diplomacy, law, human rights, peace, security, economics and the role of the United Nations.

“I had read a lot of stuff on model UN. I couldn’t get myself into a model UN camp because my school doesn’t offer it,” she said.

Puchino said it’s sad that many countries and their peoples suffer from isolationism " a condition in which entire governments or individuals choose not to educate themselves about or participate in international economic and political affairs.

In order to broaden her knowledge of international affairs, Puchino said she must travel.

“I certainly believe that everyone has some responsibility to at least acknowledge and put some kind of volunteer work into helping create a better world,” she said.

Puchino said her love for international affairs was fostered in part by her father’s military background, which caused her family to move to very diverse communities several times. She also recalled being accidentally forgotten at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., when she was on a trip with EF Tours several summers ago.

“That’s where I found out about Darfur. I also ran into a holocaust survivor that told me her story. I couldn’t let her story be something (about which) my children and grandchildren had to hear newer stories. I couldn’t let that happen again,” she said.

Puchino said she is looking forward to the trip, during which she will visit all the foreign embassies in New York, NY and in Washington D.C. She will also visit the United Nations headquarters, meet with U.N. diplomats and learn how she can be involved in international peacekeeping.

For Puchino, the trip is just a small part of a lifetime of education about international affairs. When she returns, she hopes to assist BEHS teacher Monty Edwards in writing a curriculum for a global issues course with an emphasis on the U.N. The course will be included in the elective courses available to BEHS students.

The only obstacle standing between Puchino and her summer adventure is the price tag. The tuition is $2,840 plus $500 she will need for meals and travel expenses. She is currently enlisting the community’s support to help fund the trip.

One fundraiser includes “Flamingoing” in which Puchino places pink, plastic flamingos in community members’ yards and residents can pay to have them removed. All money collected goes toward her trip.

Anyone wishing to help Puchino participate in the Global Young Leaders Conference can call 538-6639.