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Class act / An outstanding young Western New Yorker

Kaitlyn Falk, of Depew, has been in advanced reading classes since kindergarten, even though she started school a year early.

"I love to read," exclaims this fifth-grader at St. Barnabas School in Depew, who especially enjoys "realistic fiction."

"I get so wrapped up in books that I just keeping reading and reading."

Kaitlyn recently participated in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference held in Washington, D.C., which she called, "an amazing opportunity for me."

More than 80 sponsors helped the 9-year-old raise the $3,200 needed to cover the costs of her travel and expenses to the conference.

"I sought help from friends and family, as well as local businesses and others within my community," the enterprising honors-student explained.

During the week-long program, Kaitlyn studied periods of American history like the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. She visited historic sites and met with elected officials, and learned about notable historic figures and U.S. leaders. She left Washington with a greater understanding of the responsibilities of being a leader.

"I've always thought that teachers were great leaders," said Kaitlyn, who some day would like to teach fourth or fifth grade.

Training to be an altar server, she is active in St. Barnabas Church, and in her spare time, she plays basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball.

Kaitlyn's creative side was expressed when she attended art camp and took ballet lessons. "I'm also writing a Christmas play," she said.

And she has an unusual way to celebrate her birthday on Jan. 13. "Every year on my birthday my family has cake for breakfast," she said. "Cookie-cake, chocolate or ice cream."

And she only has a month to wait.

Know a young outstanding Western New Yorker? Tell us about your nomination, including date of birth and address, for possible publication in Class Acts. Photos cannot be returned. E-mail, or write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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