It’s hard to express in words the events and emotions of the students’ last night together. The past week held some of the best experiences and most cherished memories of the students’ lives.

Mrs. Rusbuldt and Mrs. Boyd started of the dinner by thanking everyone for a spectacular week and stressing the importance of the relationships we formed and the skills we acquired during the conference. Then, one at a time, each delegation went up to the front of the room to share their experiences and what the conference had meant to them. Mrs. Rusbuldt and Ms. Galston presented each delegate with a commemorative International Emerging Leaders Conference glass plaque.

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Some students prepared words to share, some spoke from the heart in the moment, and most agreed that it was hard to articulate what they were feeling.

“It was an unforgettable experience. Every step we took was amazing.  We are sad that it’s over.  We are happy that it happened,“ said the Indian delegation.

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As the night progressed, more and more tears filled the room.

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Students ate rather quickly in order to spend the last minutes dancing, laughing, and hugging.

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When the time came for the American delegates to board the bus and return to Richmond, the room erupted with tear-filled final "goodbyes,” “safe travels,” and “I’ll miss you’s.” When the Collegiate students were finally forced onto the bus, they crowded at the windows and waved as the bus pulled away. 

*Although this post is labeled as “Goodbye Dinner,” we will surely all meet again! So it’s more of a “See-you-soon Dinner.”

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