Congratulations to Thomas Keller '17 for winning the annual American Foreign Service Association's 2015 National High School Essay Contest. Keller's essay was selected from a pool of more than 450 student submissions from 41 states. The winning essay offered a potential solution to rising crime and poverty rates in Honduras by increasing microfinance loans through a Department of State assessment program.
As a result of his achievement, Keller had the opportunity to visit the State Department in Washington, D.C. and meet Secretary of State John Kerry. During his visit, Keller also got to take a private tour of the Capitol and House Rules Committee and State Department, and also see the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
"It can best be described as a whirlwind of a day," Keller said. "It was back-to-back with once in a lifetime opportunities. You read about important people in textbooks and see them on the news, but to actually meet one and have a conversation is beyond surreal, especially with the Secretary of State. The fact that he actually took the time to read my paper was amazing, as he's certainly quite the busy man."
Keller will also receive a full scholarship to Semester at Sea. The awarding organization, the American Foreign Service Association, also donated ten copies of the book Inside the Embassy to ESD.
Read more about Keller's essay here.