FOOTBALL: Federal Way's McNeal makes a run to the nation's capital
By CASEY OLSON
Federal Way Mirror Sports editor
October 12, 2012 · 1:49 PM
Federal Way High School senior Zeek McNeal is having a season to remember for the school’s unbeaten football team. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder is the leading rusher and scorer for the second-ranked Eagles.
McNeal has led Federal Way to a 6-0 record by scoring 10 touchdowns already this season.
But McNeal wasn't on the field Thursday night when the Eagles blew away the Spanaway Lake Sentinels at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. It’s not because of a knee injury or anything sinister. McNeal is currently in Washington, D.C. participating in a six-day program introducing high school students to the challenging careers in national security, intelligence, the diplomatic corps and more.
McNeal is one of 250 students from across the United States for the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security: Exploring American Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defense. He was nominated by his English teacher at Federal Way, Chelsea Gallagher.
McNeal was selected from a group of the “most promising” high school scholars, according to the organization.
As part of the conference, McNeal is participating in simulated national security discussions and learning about careers in the state department and U.S. military organizations. It’s McNeal’s goal to one day work in a similar-type field in the military.
In previous years, students were given information about a nuclear war threat from Korea. Roles included things like being the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and responding to the media during mock question and answer sessions.
According to a press release, the curriculum is based on actual world events. Throughout the program students will use critical thinking, leadership and public speaking skills to tackle the complexity of national decision-making as they examine how the U.S. plans for peace and prepares for crisis.
Students will also participate in sessions with highly-respected, internationally recognized civilian policy makers and senior military personnel. In addition, McNeal and the other students will have the opportunity to explore several government institutions and military installations, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Academy and a variety of embassies.
McNeal will be back on the football field for the Eagles’ Oct. 19 game against the Auburn Trojans.
Contact Federal Way Mirror Sports editor Casey Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5056.