From the Vikings to the Fighting Irish, Fort Walton Beach High School and the University of Notre Dame are seemingly worlds apart. Bridging the gap between the two institutions is 16-year-old Kerri Andre of Destin.



Andre, a junior at Fort Walton Beach High School, has been chosen to represent her school this summer at the University of Notre Dame Leadership Seminar.



Out of 5,000 students throughout the country, who applied for a position at the exclusive conference in Indiana, only 40 were ultimately chosen to attend.



This 10-day precollege program runs from July 21-31 and is a whirlwind experience for the students who are accepted. It gives high school students a chance to get their feet wet and experience a little bit of what college life might be like.



"I'm really looking forward to going to the conference and meeting new people with similar interests," Andre said. Students had the option to choose from three different seminar categories, and Andre chose science and ethics.



Andre told The Log that being admitted to the leadership seminar required a fairly vigorous application process consisting of writing multiple essays, acquiring teacher and counselor recommendations and submitting past test scores and transcripts.



Footing the bill for each one of the 40 students who are admitted to the leadership program, the University of Notre Dame welcomes rising high school seniors who show academic excellence, are leaders in their communities and schools and are naturally and intellectually curious and willing to engage with Notre Dame staff.



During their time at Notre Dame, Andre and the other students will explore potential career opportunities, attend mini-summits while networking with like-minded students, professors and faculty.



When asked if she was planning on attending Notre Dame after graduating from high school, Andre said that she hadn't really thought about it until recently.



"Everyone keeps saying I'm going to fall in love with the campus, so who knows."