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Local air cadet headed to U.K. for exchange

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Local air cadet Elizabeth DeGagne is headed overseas for a trip of a lifetime.

She flew out Friday afternoon from the Fort Frances Airport headed to London, England as part of the Air Cadet Exchange.

“I am really looking forward to meeting all the people I'll be spending the next three weeks with,” she enthused.

As part of the exchange, DeGagne will be with other senior cadets from across Canada.

“There will be tours and presentations throughout the trip,” she noted.

Some of the highlights include a tour of the Palace of Westminster and a Royal Air Force presentation.

“There will also be gliding, flying, team competitions, and football matches,” DeGagne said.

“All of these cadets have gone through a gruelling application process to get to this point, and they truly deserve it,” she added.

“I've spoken to a few of them already and they seem like really amazing people.”

Capt. Dawn Gray, commanding officer of the local 908 Rainy Lake Air Cadet Squadron, agreed the process to earn a trip like DeGagne's is very lengthy.

“The cadets have to apply for the positions, provide documentation, and write essays,” she noted.

“Then they have to sit on a national cadet selection board consisting of three-four members of the community.”

This event is held annually in Thunder Bay.

“Cadets are scored on their cadet file, consisting of their training file, attendance, and other factors, and their interview, with the highest-scoring cadets receiving a spot [in the exchange],” Capt. Gray added.

DeGagne noted a friend of hers went on the exchange, which is why she decided to apply.

“My friend that ended up with this exchange position had a wonderful time and couldn't stop praising the opportunity when she came back,” she remarked.

Capt. Gray noted DeGagne is the first cadet from the 908 Rainy Lake squadron to be given this opportunity.

“An opportunity like this gives the cadet a chance to experience a different culture, and gives them the opportunity to provide others in our unit with more knowledge and insight onto other cultures,” she reasoned.

Much of what DeGagne learns in London will be shared with the junior cadets here when she returns home Aug. 3, as she enjoys teaching them and pushing them to try new things.

“As a senior cadet, I am more focused on ensuring that the other cadets are enjoying and understanding the lessons we teach and pass on,” she said.

“Now that I've completed my fourth year, my favourite part is pushing the junior cadets to try new things and be more comfortable and confident in the skills they're taught.”

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