OGDEN -- Kylie Osguthorpe has never been one to back away from a challenge. So when the 17-year-old's high school French teacher suggested she try to win a scholarship to study abroad for the next two years, she thought she would give it a try.
She didn't think it would actually be happening, but it is. Kylie, who will be a senior at Ogden High School this fall, won't actually be finishing up her senior year at the high school only a couple blocks from her home -- she will be graduating and then attending another year of school in Hong Kong and China.
Kylie studied under the International Baccalaureate program at OHS this year -- the school's first year to offer the program. She loved the challenge it offered her and did very well, so one of her IB teachers, Suzie Davis, suggested she try for the scholarship to attend the United World College -- a scholarship worth about $40,000.
She filled out all the paperwork for the first round with about 600 other high school students in her region. She then traveled to New Mexico for the next round, narrowed down to a field of 150. She didn't feel great about her interview or about how she did, so she counted herself out.
Her family counted her out as well.
"We took her at her word," Kylie's mom, Angie, said of her feelings about the final interview.
So when Kylie received the email telling her she had been selected as the only girl in the United States to attend the Hong Kong campus, she felt shocked, honored and thrilled.
"She caught the whole family off guard," Angie said, even though she knew all along that her daughter was more than qualified for the experience.
United World Colleges are all over the globe, and when students go through the interview process, they rank the school they want to attend. The Hong Kong campus is the most sought after. Kylie had planned to pick the Italy campus, but at the last minute she decided to go for the best and picked Hong Kong. Being selected to attend the Hong Kong campus is a double bonus, she said, because students are not always selected to attend their top choice.
She and a boy from the Midwest will be the only representatives from the United States at the Hong Kong campus next year. For Kylie it is a huge honor and a bit of a sacrifice to leave friends and family behind.
"I decided it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, because I will meet so many people and learn so many new things," she said.
Kylie has always been interested in the Asian culture. During her stay, she will get to spend some time on Mainland China, where she will do service work. This will be a huge part of her experience, and something she said she is really looking forward to.
When Kylie decided to do the IB program at OHS, the service aspect was something she was drawn to. Students are required to do a specific number of service hours per quarter, and Kylie said she enjoyed the different areas she got to serve.
"Service has always been a big part of my life and something I have been taught," Kylie said.
She has served in the teen court, Boys and Girls Club and on the local trails. Service is an everyday thing at the Hong Kong campus.
She will also get a chance to learn Chinese, while also speaking English.
"I just can't use any slang, so I'll be working on that," she said, smiling.
Davis is excited for Kylie to have the chance to attend the international school. When Davis did her teacher IB training in New Mexico, she was impressed with the set-up of the World College campuses and wanted her students to have the chance to experience it if they could. She gave the information to Kylie, but said Kylie put in the work to obtain the scholarship.
"What a thrill, because they take so few students from each country," Davis said.
Mom Angie said many have asked her how she can send Kylie so far away for school, but for Angie it's simple.
"We've always taught her to spread her wings and to take chances ... I'm excited for her and a little sad for myself," Angie said.
Of course she will miss her daughter, but it is an opportunity of a lifetime. She will visit Kylie and Kylie will most likely come home for Christmas.
"She wants to be the best," Angie said. "She's a hard worker."
That is an understatement. Kylie is currently working three summer jobs and will be doing a humanitarian mission in Vietnam in July. She is working hard to pay for her airfare to Hong Kong and some funds needed for the Vietnam trip. Kylie isn't afraid to work hard and make sacrifices to obtain her goals. Once her time in Hong Kong is finished, she would love to attend college at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and go into economics or architecture.
Right now, the sky is the limit, and she figures she might as well go big if she can.