Sherman Oaks Elementary School third-grader David MacAdam was on the playground with his classmates Monday when his teacher told him that he had been chosen to go to New York to represent California students at the reopening of the Statue of Liberty in July.
"At first I didn't understand what she was talking about," MacAdam, 9, said with a shy smile. "But then I got excited. I was so surprised."
MacAdam's name was drawn by Gov. George Deukmejian from 394 California entries in a contest to select a student and a teacher to go to activities celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty and the reopening of the monument, which has undergone a lengthy restoration. MacAdam's teacher, Judith Silverstein, will accompany him on the trip.
Representatives of each of the 50 states will be flown to New York for the weeklong festivities. Once in New York, one student will be chosen to read his or her essay on national TV.
"I wrote about the people who made the statue and how they shipped it to America," MacAdam said.
The Weekly Reader, a newspaper read by millions of elementary schoolchildren, along with the National Assn. of State Boards of Education, sponsored the competition and will underwrite the costs of the New York visit.
It will be a return visit to New York for young MacAdam.
"I was there when I was a little kid," MacAdam said about a trip he took with his family when he was 2 or 3 years old. "But I don't remember anything."