Parade's carrier program in its 35th year
But worldwide threat of terrorism causes cancellation of this spring's scheduled Young Columbus program trip to Paris
For the first time in the 35-year history of Parade's Young Columbus program, world events are causing the trip's cancellation.
This means that 137 students will miss what previous participants have called "a first-class opportunity of a lifetime."
With the Persian Gulf war giving rise to the threat of terrorism aimed at Americans abroad, Parade has decided to cancel the Young Columbus XXXV trip to France, April 9-18.
The concern for the safety of the youth carriers and Newspaper in Education students that participate in the trip was what has prompted the decision. The contest is open to youths 12 through 17.
Mac Bibbee, circulation director of the Gazette Mail, Charleston, W. Va., said the students were disappointed, but the parents were relieved.
"With all the unrest and threat of terrorism, I think it was the only decision Parade could have made. On CNN [Cable News Network], they said the worst thing you can do right now while traveling in Europe is to go to the normal tourist sites with a large group of Americans," he said.
Similar comments about disappointment mixed with relief were heard from many others running the trip for their newspapers.
"I think all the students are disappointed, but Parade has their best interests at heart. I'm glad there is still something there to offer the youngster," said Michael Rhodes, circulation director of the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H.
As compensation, many winners are being offered scholarships by their newspapers, using the resources that would have been used to send the students to France. Parade has promised to match up to $1,000 per winner with a U.S. Savings Bond.
Karen Erickson, winner of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer Newspaper in Education "Mock Front Page" contest, is hoping to use her money to participate in her high school's trip to France scheduled this summer. She is a fifth-year French student.
Tracey Williams, a ninth-grader at Stanton College Prep in Jacksonville, Fla., and Diane Hansen, a ninth-grader at Allen Nease High School in St. Augustine, Fla., were the winners of the Florida Times-Union contest. They will receive $100 in cash, which Parade will match, and be allowed to go on the trip next year.
In 1956, the weekly magazine organized its first all-expenses-paid educational and cultural trip to Europe. Destinations have included Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Scotland, Denmark, Norway and Romania.
Each participating newspaper develops its own contest for either its youth carriers or Newspaper in Education program. Originally, the trip was for youth carriers only, but the NIE program contests were developed because so many newspapers no longer have youth carriers.
Examples of youth carrier programs are sales competitions, Carrier of the Year awards, and a carrier-student competition in which students are judged on route performance as well as customer recommendations, teacher evaluations, personal essays and interviews.
NIE contests are varied. Some papers, such as the Florida Times-Union, offer a writing contest that requires students to refer to at least three articles that have appeared in the paper.
The Sunday Star-Ledger in Newark, N. …