Tacoma teens heading to China to visit President Xi Jinping

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen reports.

TACOMA, Wash. – Dashawana Johnson is scared, but nothing will keep the 17-year-old from getting on that plane next month.

“This is going to make me stronger,” said Johnson, a senior at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School.

She’s nervous because she’s never been on a plane before. Johnson’s going big her first time up. She’s flying to Hong Kong and then throughout China with classmates for an 11-day tour in October.

“I’ve never really been out of Washington,” said Johnson. “My family doesn’t travel much.”

Johnson’s one of 100 Lincoln High School students flying to China, all expenses paid. They will be guests of the Chinese government. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Lincoln during his tour of Seattle and Tacoma in September 2015. During his stop at the school, he invited 100 of the students to visit him in Beijing.

The school held lottery to select the students. They needed a minimum 2.5 grade point average and had to have three letters of recommendations from teachers to qualify.

The group includes sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Ten members of Lincoln’s football team will be on the tour. They’ll miss one game, maybe two.

“Coach was telling me… you should just go,” said junior Austin Moeung.

Moeung’s been on a plane before, but he was too young to remember.

Johnson said she expects the experience to impact the rest of her life. She’s looking forward to trying new food and seeing a new culture.

“I’m going to love to explain to my children, ‘I went to China,’” said Johnson. “This is going to make me, I think.”

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Copyright 2016 KING


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