Remember these guys? One year ago this month, they took off to spend their junior year of high school in Ohio, New Mexico and Alaska respectively as part of the PAX student exchange program. Now they are back in Addis—taller, more confident and with lots of great stories. They will start their 12th grade year at their Ethiopian high schools in a few weeks. We are so proud of our exchange students!
We were all a little nervous to send poor Sami to Palmer, Alaska. Alaska is frigid; Ethiopia is not. We fully anticipated seeing pictures of Sami with frozen tears on his face or pictures of him with his face invisible under layers of clothing. But not only did Sami survive, he dominated the cold. Sami joined the ski team. He hung out with reindeer.
Perhaps more predictably, he excelled in academics and on the soccer team. He even got to travel to warmer areas to play with dolphins, parasail and scuba dive.
Hosea spent his year near Cincinnati, Ohio. He appreciated the opportunity to choose his own classes, which is not the case in his school in Addis. Pre-calculus, Advanced Biology, U.S. History and English were no match for the super brain. His extracurriculars included participating in YoungLife, a Christian student organization, and Project Lead, a school club that raised money for charity work. He was able to travel to Indiana, New York City, Connecticut, Boston, Kentucky and Disney World, a highlight during his stay.
Josh was expecting a lot of tall buildings when he came to the U.S., but his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico introduced him to a shorter style of architecture. A social butterfly, Josh treasured his time with his host family, new friends and his local church. He played basketball, ran track and started an Awareness Club with his friends to raise money for charity. Academics were not a problem, and he was even able to nurture his love of art with an AP Art class. He also sold some of his artwork to raise money for his mother’s orphanage in Addis. Trips to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Washington, D.C., and Colorado were icing on the cake.