The National Honor Society hosted the 8th Annual International Student Exchange Weekend at Whitewater High School November 8 – 10!  The festivities began with introductions, pizza party & pictures on Friday night, baking, shopping, movies, supper & Cosmic bowling in Fort Atkinson Saturday night, and a trip to Madison Sunday morning before the students had to leave Sunday afternoon.  This year, the international students were from Peru, Brazil, Japan, Hungary, Sweden, Croatia, Ecuador, Thailand & Turkey. Thank you to Jim & Julie Caldwell (Jenna), John & Shannon Frye (Broderick), Alex & Holly Crowley (Caroline) and Brad & Patty Ceranske (Allison) for hosting the students in their homes!  Another special thank you to Jim & Julie Caldwell for sponsoring supper on Saturday night, to the Whitewater Rotary Club for sponsoring the pizza party & bowling activities, and to Ron Binning for being the guest speaker when the students arrived!


Participating National Honor Society members were Broderick Frye, Caroline Crowley, Allison Ceranske & Jenna Caldwell, Abby Grosinske, Gwynne Sahyun, Madalynn Arnett, Colin Chenoweth, Jenna Lee, Hailey Murphy, Alyssa Schumacher, Mina Truesdale, Andy Vo, Cooper Pease and Bryce Hibbs. 


The international students shared the following reflections about the weekend:


Laura Samardzija from Croatia said, “This was the best weekend yet.  I saw more things in three days here than three months in Racine.  Met people that I feel like they’re my best friends.  Had an awesome time!”


Lisa Gornert from Sweden shared, “I had an awesome weekend with Maddie, Caroline, Abby & Alyssa.  Thank you for taking us everywhere and thank you for being so welcoming!”


Alejandra Quecedo Cepeda from Ecudor said, “It was a good experience.  The best part of the weekend was that I met wonderful people, especially Allison.”


Flora Banki from Hungary reflected, “Jenna & Caroline are definitely the best people I’ve ever met.  Of course with everyone else from their school, including Ms. Sonmor-Wintz, the National Honor Society Advisor, who did an amazing job to organize this weekend for us.  We participated in fun programs like bowling together, and I felt like I met new friends forever!  Thank you so much for everything!”


Bartu Karabulut from Turkey shared, “This weekend was really fun.  Everybody was nice to us.  We had really good time on both Friday & Saturday.  The pizza party was really good.  We had the chance to meet everybody.  After that we had really good time playing bowling.”


Pun Workakulpisut from Thailand said, “Thank you for making this an awesome weekend!  I really enjoyed spending time with all the students from WHS.  They are all nice & friendly.”


Fuka Sunagawa from Japan shared, “I had a good time!  Thank you so much!”


Natalia Salinas from Peru said, “Thank you for spending your weekend with us.  We had fun sharing our cultures and laughing!”


Marina Rangel from Brazil shared, “Thank you for this awesome weekend!  It was really nice to meet new people and learn more about America’s culture.  P.S.  I had no idea I was good at bowling!”


NHS members shared the following reflections about the weekend:


Jenna Caldwell said, “Meeting & talking with all of the Foreign-Exchange students was a truly unforgettable experience.  Combining all of our cultures together made for a great time. Through our conversations, I learned so much about the different countries that the students were from.  This instilled so much knowledge into myself and my peers.  I cannot wait for next year’s exchange and everything it has to hold.” 


Broderick Frye shared, “It was great to get to know the people from Turkey & Thailand.  Hearing about their culture back in their home country was interesting.  Even just hearing about the place they are staying here in the United States was incredible too.  Some people have stereotypes about people from different cultures and I believe the only way to diminish that is to get to know the people.  I was able to get to know them and it was a great experience.”


Madalynn Arnett shared, “It was fun to show the two girls different parts of Wisconsin.  They enjoyed shopping, going to Culver’s to eat cheese curds, and even stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts twice.  Instantly on Friday night, all of our personalities clicked and saying goodbye on Sunday was very hard.  We all are already planning on when to meet next and are so grateful that this weekend brought us all two new best friends.”


Abby Grosinske said, “I loved this past weekend and everything we did.  From meeting everyone on Friday night to watching the sectional meet with our students Saturday, it was truly a great time.  I made life-long friends with the two girls I spent the weekend with and I hope more students are encouraged to participate in this weekend next year.  All the students were so respectful when they met new people and loved sharing some of their favorite things from the exchange so far!”


Alyssa Schumacher reflected, “I absolutely loved getting to know all of the foreign exchange students.  They were very talkative and were willing to answer all of our questions about their home countries.  It was really cool to be able to learn about their cultures and the biggest differences between here and there.  I have definitely made some great new friendships and will have some great travel buddies when I travel to different countries!!!”





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