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King, Patel and Zari train in South Korea with A-KEEP program

Amy Elizabeth Zari, from left, Allen King and Juhi Patel pinpoint Korea on the globe before leaving for Global Leadership Training with the Alabama-Korea Education Economic Partnership (A-KEEP). (CONTRIBUTED)
Amy Elizabeth Zari, from left, Allen King and Juhi Patel pinpoint Korea on the globe before leaving for Global Leadership Training with the Alabama-Korea Education Economic Partnership (A-KEEP). (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – This summer, three Madison teenagers are in South Korea in Global Leadership Training with the Alabama-Korea Education Economic Partnership (A-KEEP).

Allen King and Juhi Patel, both incoming seniors at James Clemens High School, and Amy Elizabeth Zari, a junior at Bob Jones High School, are pursuing this study.

A 501(C)3 non-profit organization, A-KEEP supports relationships between American and Korean organizations and provide scholarships to Alabama youth to become global leaders.

The teenagers left after a farewell reception in Montgomery on June 4 and will return June 19. They will brief the A-KEEP board, which includes State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice and Sen. Gerald Dial, on June 22.

The training program is a partnership between the Alabama State Department of Education and the Korean State Department of Education. Teenage delegates are prepared for adapting to the volatile, 21st-century global world.

Most training sessions were held at the Hwarang Education Institution in Gyeongju.

Students visited ancient sites, like Bulguksa and Sukgulram, Gyeongju Girls’ Information High School, royal tomb of King Munmu of Shilla Dynasty, Hyundai Motors manufacturing plant, Pohang University of Science & Technology and the Juk-do fish market.

During both weekends, the Madison teenagers stayed at the home of a Korean high school student to experience the culture first-hand.

King, an Eagle Scout, serves as president of his Venturing Crew and James Clemens A-KEEP Club. He participates in cross-country, Scholar’s Bowl, Math Teams and numerous honor societies.

Patel serves as Chemistry Club treasurer, is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and volunteers at Madison Public Library.

Amy, a Bob Jones Student Ambassador, is a member of Chemistry Club, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and is Junior Civitans president.

The teens’ parents are Rick and Molly King, Jayesh and Shilpa Patel and Michael and Mary-Lee Zari.

A-KEEP welcomes donations for scholarships to admit more students in the Global Leadership Training program. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 640513, Pike Road, AL 36064. For more information, visit A-KEEP.org.

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