The road to Canada is paved with cheese

COSTA MESA — Zora McPhail, 11, is trying to raise money to travel as a student ambassador to Canada, where she will meet members of Parliament, build and sleep in a tepee, and learn about our neighbors to the north.

There are plenty of cultural curiosities to explore as well. Canadians, for example, dip French fries in malt vinegar.

"I want to try it," the young Costa Mesa resident said with a smile. "I don't know if it's going to be good."

Zora, a sixth-grader at the Waldorf School of Orange County in Costa Mesa, was accepted into the People to People Ambassador program, which President Eisenhower created to foster world peace through direct interaction between people of different cultures.

With People to People, Zora will travel over the summer to Vancouver, Banff and Calgary for 12 days with about 50 other fifth- and sixth-graders from around the U.S.

Zora's mother, Sue McPhail, who traveled the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico as a performer at age 18, wants Zora to have the chance to look past differences of other nationalities and learn that everyone is fundamentally the same

"It was just an incredible experience for me, and I've always wanted my children to have the experience to be acquainted with other parts of the world," she said.

Zora needs to raise $4,000, which she plans to do by baby-sitting and offering an opportunity drawing to have her father, Mark McPhail — who worked for 20 years at General Motors — fine tune a car for optimal performance.

She is also selling cheese.

Mozzarella Cheese in Under an Hour kits to be exact.

Sue McPhail took a private, cheese-making class about a year ago, and learned shortly before Zora was accepted by People to People that it was being sold as a kit.

"We thought it was unique, and everyone likes cheese," Sue McPhail said.

Zora, who said she doesn't like going door-to-door, is learning to overcome her fear, and the experience is teaching her the value of money and hard work, said Mark McPhail, adding that she can use these skills to fund her future dreams.

"The trip is the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

How To Help

What: Mozzarella Cheese in Under an Hour Kit

Cost: $25

Information: Order by calling Zora McPhail at (714) 852-3655

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