Some Hartford Public High School students are planning to attend an international peace conference in Poland, but they're still trying to raise enough money to get there.
The five students are leaving on Friday to attend next week’s conference in Warsaw, Poland where they will learn from world leaders and Nobel Prize winners including the Dalai Lama and ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
"I think it's such an amazing experience to even be able to go to Poland for this conference," said Kaylanie Santiago, a senior from the school’s Law and Government Academy.
The students were selected from about 20 who filled out applications and answered tough questions during interviews.
"I want to learn from world leaders. I want to learn from people that are important and that try to make a difference in the world,” said Frankielys Quinones, a senior from the school’s Nursing Academy.
"Once we're in Poland and we talk to world leaders about human rights, the issues we're facing now, we'll be able to bring back that conversation back to our community,” said Yahaira Escribano, a senior in the school’s Law and Government Academy.
They'll be the only high school students from the United States attending the event. Most of the other students at the conference are expected to be in college.
Their teacher, Giana Gleeson, was invited to the conference because she attended the summit when she was in college.
"This time since we work here at Hartford High we said we're not going without the students," said Giana Gleeson, a Spanish and History teacher at Hartford High.
Taylor Ives, a behavioral technician at the school, will also accompany the students on the trip.
So far, the group has raised more than $10,000 in donations for the trip. They've even set up a website to collect additional money but remain about $1500 short of their goal.
"It's unbelievable that we are actually so close to finishing with the donations,” said Keren Torres, a senior in the school’s Nursing Academy.
Most of the students have never traveled outside the United States before. The trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they won’t soon forget.
"It's going to be an amazing amount of wisdom I can get out of this trip," said Xavier Arriaga, a junior from the school’s Law and Government Academy.