Iowa PAX students gather for a group presentation session at the Independence public library. From back left are Gina DeBoer (local coordinator), Noriki (Japan), Rito (Japan), Jonas (Germany), Luca (Germany), Javier (Spain), Johanna (Germany) and Meruyert (Kazakhstan). Front row: Deqa (Somaliland), Judith (Spain), Marina (Spain), Garazi (Spain), Ilaria (Italy)

Independence Welcomes Cultural Exchange

On Sunday, November 4, Independence Iowa Public Library hosted a group presentation session for 12 PAX students.  Each of them had an opportunity to share their stories with pictures of their native lands. There were two from Japan, three from Germany, four from Spain, one from Italy, one from Somaliland, and one from Kazakhstan.

They all are adapting well to the American school system and are very involved in extracurricular activities. One will be joining the volleyball team at State, three will be joining the high school band at the Bands of America National Championship, and several others are in many other sports. Quite a few of the students are looking forward to soccer and tennis in the spring.

Hamburgers and pizza were the overwhelming favorite American foods, and they are all looking forward to experiencing the upcoming American holidays. The meeting room was packed with host family and community members. After the presentation segment, each student was able to introduce themselves to individual community members and answer any additional questions they had.

As a regional director, I really enjoy meeting the students from my areas. This time was no different. This group of young people made me proud of them and their accomplishments. Three cheers to Gina DeBoer, their community coordinator.

—Kris De Mattos, regional director (IA)