Kearney 8th grader heading to Europe after winning contest

Local4 News at 5
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 7:22 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - A Kearney 8th grader is about to go on an incredible trip for spring break.

Ella Means is one of 60 students from 14 states to win AAA’s Discovery Crew contest.

She and her mother, Leslie, will be traveling with other 8th graders and their chaperones to Europe for free.

The group will be embarking on an educational river cruise starting in Amsterdam then going through Belgium and the Netherlands.

This is thanks to the contest, her writing ability, a selfie showing her passion for travel and her grandmother for letting her know this was something she should do.

“She got it in a magazine and she sent it to me, and my cousin lives in Amsterdam so she suggested that I should apply for it and I did it and got in,” Ella said.

Leslie added that grandma knew before anybody else that Ella could win this contest.

Now that the trip is only days away, the excitement is growing for the two.

“Every since she was little, I used to take her into places if I wasn’t comfortable, she was my security blanket to talk to people, and she always wants to talk to people and meet new people, so it’s very much her comfort zone to meet all these other peers from across the United States,” said Leslie.

AAA partnered with AmaWaterways and Allianz Global Assistance to provide the river cruise, flights, travel insurance, and money for passports.

During the trip, students will follow a custom-designed itinerary with ports of call and shore excursions focused on learning about local history, art, science, nature, and food.

Ella added that she’s looking forward to visit the Anne Frank Museum, go on some of the walking tours and try the food.

Other things include visiting the schools there and meeting new people.

Ella’s parents say they can’t be more proud of their daughter.

Ella is one of seven Nebraska students to be selected for this educational cruise and the only one from central Nebraska.