By Jennifer Wright, Science Leadership Academy
Not many people have the opportunity to meet a Prince in their lifetime, but I can now say that I have. Thursday April 26th, I met Earl of Wessex HRH Prince Edward during his visit to Philadelphia.
Prince Edward took over responsibility for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program from his father HRH Prince Phillip.
Relatively new to the U.S., it is called The Young American's Challenge. The award program is a challenge to young people age 15-26 to set goals for themselves and accomplish new feats.The program now operates in 132 countries around the world.
I started my Bronze in sophomore year when wonderful Leslie Kase, Managing Director for the Philadelphia region of the program, visited my school. I am currently earning my Silver; almost finished!
Fortunately, Prince Edward planned a trip to visit Philadelphia,
Held at The Downtown Club, about 300 people attended the event. I brought my aunt, mom and granny. You can't forget your grandma.
Our group had the special opportunity to meet with him as close to individually as possible. The 17 of us and many board members for the program stood in a separate room and had the opportunity to have a meet and greet.
There was no curtsying or even handshaking, surprisingly. He would ask a question and anyone would have the chance to answer.
And take the chance I did! I was extremely nervous, but I really wanted to say my over practiced, "It's a pleasure to meet you Your Royal Highness!" I spoke the slowest and clearest I ever have. I am an animated speaker, the Italian hand-talking is my specialty. Being so nervous I lost all my personality and went wide-eyed.
Not to say he was all that intimidating, he was very pleasant. He smiled a lot and reminded me of a cool dad, with a posh British accent of course.
Afterward, I rejoined my family as the Prince was crowded around by people in the main room.
Three students from our group gathered the nerve to speak about their experience in the program in front of the whole room. I admire their tenacity because I was drained after 30 seconds of high-pressure conversing with a Royal.
Another student from our group edited a slide show of photos from the many activities we had done as a group that we presented to him along with a drawn portrait of the Prince by another student.
I've never met anyone famous, so this was kind of a big deal for the students in the group. I mean, he's a prince, and we are high school kids. That's about as exciting as it could get.
I can just imagine what is still in store for the group after this type of opportunity.
You can read more about the Award at http://www.usaward.org/