The district’s annual Diversity Weekend starts Thursday (Jan. 30), as 11 high school students studying throughout northwest Ohio arrive in Ottawa Hills to speak to classes and enjoy time together. Village families are again opening their homes for the students.
The event is as much for the exchange students as Ottawa Hills students. The group spends a lot of time together, sharing stories of studying and living in the United States. But they also spend time with OH students, talking about their homelands, families, and cultures.
Four international students are at the Junior/Senior High School this year: Federico Celauro (Italy), Aliyya Izzizti (Indonesia), Shayaan Sultan (Pakistan), and Mamadou Sy (Senegal). (All but Mamadou are here through the efforts of the AFS program.)
Joining the Ottawa Hills-based international students are seven studying in other school districts: Maria Jose Roldan Centron (Paraguay), Jasmine Feuvrier (France), Simone Grosso (Italy), Maria Luiza (Brazil), Sofia Maas (Germany), Laura Martinez Del Cura (Spain), and Trine Scherer (Germany).
The students will spend Friday morning speaking to classes at the Junior/Senior High School and Elementary School. They’ll return to the Junior/Senior High School for a lunch in their honor, hosted by the school’s AFS Diversity Club. The exchange students will spend the early afternoon at Imagination Station as their OHHS hosts attend afternoon high school classes.
Ingrid Mendez, a Spanish teacher at the Junior/Senior High, will host the students and their hosts for dinner that night before they head out for a fun evening at the University of Toledo Student Recreation Center. The students and hosts close out the day with a party at the home of AFS host parents Michelle and Tom McGrath. The celebration concludes Saturday with a pizza party at the Junior/Senior High School library.
(Thank you to the event’s hosts families and main organizers: AFS liaison Linda Sherry and Hannah Lehmann, Junior/Senior High School art teacher and advisor to the International Student Exchange Association.)