Pascal Boehner’s home is unquestionably the furthest from his new high school. Columbia Heights High School’s newest junior hails from Lichtenau in the Rhine-Westphalia state of the Federal Republic of Germany. That’s more than 4,300 miles from his front porch to the front door of his new school.
For this school year, Boehner has a much more manageable trip to and from school and his “temporary homes” in Columbia Heights because he is a foreign exchange student as part of the Fridley- Columbia Heights Rotary Youth Exchange program.
For the next year Boehner will have the full experience of academics and activities. When asked what he is looking forward to this year he said, “To have the typical American high school experience.” Another new experience will be to live in an urban environment as he was raised on a farm in a small town in Germany.
According to Fridley-Columbia Heights Rotary Youth Exchange Officer Kristen Stuenkel, the club is very involved with youth exchange.
“Two years ago our club hosted a student from Brazil who attended Fridley High School and last year we sponsored a student from Minnesota who spent a year in India,” she said.
“This year we are thrilled to host Pascal and that he will be attending Columbia Heights High School,” added Zac Hoang, the club’s youth exchange counselor.
The Rotary Youth Exchange is a Rotary International student exchange program for students in secondary school. Since 1929, Rotary International has sent young people around the globe to experience new cultures. Currently, about 9,000 students are sponsored by Rotary clubs every year. Typically, students are sent to another country for a year-long stay, generally living with multiple host families during the year and being expected to perform daily tasks within the household as well as attend school in the host country.
Creating worlds of opportunity for every learner brings a new meaning with Boehner as the CHHS’ foreign exchange student. The community is invited to say “Guten Tag” (hello) and give him a warm Heights Pride welcome.
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