Prairieville 6th-grader attends D.C. conference

An Ascension Parish sixth-grader was among more than 250 middle school students who attended a recent leadership program in Washington, D.C.

Matthew Goodwin, who attends Parkview Baptist School and lives in Prairieville, attended the six-day Junior National Young Leaders Conference.

“The aim of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference is to inspire students to recognize their own leadership skills, measure their skills against those of current and former leaders and return home with new confidence in their ability to exercise positive influence within their communities,” said Marguerite Regan, dean of academic affairs for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, the organization that sponsors JrNYLC. “Young people are not only welcome in Washington, D.C., they actually keep this city and our country running.”

During the six-day program, Matthew took part in educational activities and presentations and explored historic areas, such as Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C’s museums and memorials.

“It was an extreme honor to be chosen to attend this program and I am looking forward to attending the Forum on Medicine when I reach high school,” Matthew said.

Matthew’s parents, Billy and Celeste Goodwin, called the experience a momentous achievement for their son.

Matthew has been plagued with serious health problems affecting his kidneys and causing him to have high blood pressure since he was four years old.

“Nearly every school year, Matthew requires hospitalizations for his health issues,” Celeste Goodwin said. He strives to excel at everything he does. His school work is no different. Missing days or weeks at a time has never deterred him from wanting to remain an honor student.”

Matthew wants to be a pediatric nephrologist.

CYLC is a nonpartisan, educational organization.