Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald Correspondent
A pair of local students took special notice of actor Hugh O'Brian's 80th birthday over the weekend.
That's because Katie Drolet, 16, of Inverness and Mitch Kinastowski, 16, of Arlington Heights will meet up with the former western film star next month when they attend a World Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C., led by O'Brian.
The congress' tag line reads: "Motivating Tomorrow's Leaders, Today."
Their adventure started earlier this month when they were selected from their respective high schools - St. Viator High School for Drolet and Hersey High School for Kinastowski - to attend the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Seminar held at Dominican University in River Forest.
They were among 200 sophomores representing high schools across Illinois at the legendary three-day summit started 47 years ago by the actor who made his name playing Wyatt Earp.
O'Brian started the seminars in 1958 after a historic meeting in Africa with Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who encouraged him to motivate and empower young people.
Both teens say the chance to attend the first leadership seminar was exciting enough, but the experience got even better when they learned they were chosen to advance to the Washington congress.
Kinastowski had good leadership credentials going into the event. A member of the choir, show choir and musical theater productions at Hersey, he also has served as president of his class his first two years and was re-elected to lead them next year.
"We learned about leadership qualities and how to apply them to real life," Kinastowski said, "and how to be successful."
Drolet, too, is active …