Watch what our Cultural Exchange Programs have to offer...
May 1, 2013
My personal story about being a host family for FOA!
February 17, 2015
FOA’s Visit at the Dwyer Middle School
June 7, 2012
There is nothing more magical than the faces of young students from different worlds meeting each other for the first time.
This is what I personally got to witness the day we visited Dwyer Middle School with our Japanese students. I knew that this would be a fun experience for both students and I, yet I did not realize how much of an impact it would actually be.
First of all, Principal Morgan Smith could not of been more gracious and accommodating towards our group. He organized several of his top students to be leaders to help show our group individually around the entire campus who worked with their teacher Sarah Skinner. Also, they had a special school activity called “Dwyer Dash” where their students could participate in sport activities like soccer, basketball, and even an obstacle course. They had food, music, and prizes to celebrate their school’s spirit, also they gave us special permission to allow our students to participate in their activity. This was truly a blessing.
Once we arrived to the Dwyer Middle School we immediately went to their auditorium where we were greeted by their student leaders. To our surprise they were introduced by a sudden rush of students filled with excitement. Their faces glowed with amazement, and the energy of the auditorium increased with even more excitement once our students began to interact with them. More and more students continued to pour in with curiosity to meet their new guests. As they started to leave, Sarah Skinner arrived with the actual group leaders.
The leaders had prepared their own signs with names of the student they were paired up with, and we helped them find each other. They really went out of their way to greet them as they arrived, it was so sweet! They were so well mannered and appreciative of meeting our students. Then I could see the amazement in all of our student faces from that point on. After being pared they went off on their tours to visit the rest of the campus.
After their tours completed, all of students met up again back at the school’s auditorium where they would have their chance to express their culture. Principal Smith once again surprised us when he arranged many of Dwyer’s classes to attend this presentation. Groups of classes began to rapidly fill the auditorium, and once again the energy increased with excitement from everyone present. Our students did such a great job of presenting their talents, and we were all so impressed.
At first, I was afraid since there were so many of Dwyer’s students there to watch the presentation that it would intimidate our students. I think it may of just inspired them more, because once they were in front of the podium demonstrating their origami and Japanese calligraphy they really nailed it! They spoke so well in front of everyone even though their English wasn’t yet strong. How brave of them to be able to present a demonstration in front of a foreign group of about a 100 students. This was actually very inspiring for me, and I was so proud of them. They were even able to teach a few of the Dwyer students as well as Principal Smith some of their crafts. The crowed roared with amazement and immediately began to connect with our students after the presentation. It was so wonderful and touching to watch that my eyes actually filled up with tears of joy. I think I felt 5 years younger witnessing all of the students interact with one another.
Once all the excitement calmed down a little we continued to the next event at their “Dwyer Dash,” which was located at their field outside. Once again the students interacted with each other and even played basketball and soccer. They got to enjoy the food, snacks, and lots of laughs. Some of our students actually stayed at the auditorium to watch a rehearsal on stage for one of Dwyer’s theatrical production. They were so intrigued by the American students activities. Also, during the time when they were watching the production several of the students were making numerous origami figures as gifts for their new friends. How talented and fast they were to produce so many origami figures. This intrigued me so much that I ask one of them to also teach me how to make one. She taught me how to make a crane, and surprising it actually turned out good. They also gave me some of their masterpieces, and I still have all of them on my shelf today. Beautiful!
They also had already brought little gifts of candy, and began to pass them out to other Dwyer students to show their appreciation for their visit. It was so wonderful to witness them talk about each other’s culture and ask questions. They wanted to know what was similar or the same at each other schools, and also home life.
After all the events were done, we gathered everyone to say one last goodbye back at the auditorium. The students from Dwyer wanted to continue to connect with them, and already asked when they were coming back. Some of the Dwyer students wanted to also learn how they could go abroad to Japan and visit their schools. It was once again so touching to see, so we decided to arrange a Pin Pal program for them. Both students now can have a chance to continue contacting each other and remain friends for as long as they wish. Maybe they will be able see each other again, as some of them may have the inspiration to visit another county. Who knows how it will change their lives, I believe that it will. At least it will broaden the culture awareness from around the world.
We thank you Dwyer Middle School for allowing FOA to visit your campus, and experience such a joyful day with your students.