Each year the Vernonia School District and the Vernonia community invite a group of foreign exchange students from all around the world to spend a school year living and learning in our small town. Families open their homes and become adopted parents; new, lifelong friendships are started and our students and residents have a chance to learn about life and culture in a variety of places-some we may not have even heard of before. Over the last few years the groups of students has grown progressively larger; this year Vernonia is host to nineteen foreign students. Each fall Vernonia’s Voice takes time in our pages to meet and introduce each of these students to the rest of our community. If you have the pleasure of meeting any of these visitors, please take time to say hello and help them feel welcome.
Silas Mansig is a senior from Gedved, a small town in Denmark. Silas is staying with Jon, Kinnell and Bridger Steward. He is playing football this fall and will play basketball and baseball this year as well. Silas say he has met a lot of nice people and says he likes that Vernonia is a small community where everyone knows each other. Silas says his favorite classes are Construction and Yearbook and his favorite food here in the United States is pizza. Silas says he will go to school in Denmark after he returns from Vernonia.
Sara Mayer-Villeneuve is from Quebec, Canada near Montreal and is staying with Mark, Deanna and Kelsey Brown. A senior, Sara says she likes the personal feel of small town Vernonia. Sara says her favorite class is Spanish, which she is learning for the first time and she also enjoys Algebra and Leadership. “I like all my classes,” she says. Sara is playing volleyball and says maybe she would like to try cheerleading as well. She also hopes to run track in the spring. Sara says she will return for more schooling in Quebec and then University when her year in Vernonia is over.
Sam Hout is from Abitibe, in western Quebec, Canada. Sam is a senior and is living with the Rethwill family. Sam says Vernonia is a lot like his small home town in Canada and thinks there are lots of activities for students to be involved in. He says he had a chance to try Clam Chowder for the first time and really likes it! Sam is playing football and says he may try wrestling and baseball. Sam says his favorite class is Advanced Conditioning because he has a chance to do training for himself. Sam says he is spending this year in the United States because he doesn’t know what he wants to study in the future. He says he will continue his schooling and go to University.
Emma D’Onghia is a junior and is living with the Landers family. Emma is from Glen Iris, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Emma thinks Vernonia is a good place for Exchange Student because there are less people to get to know and everyone knows who they are. Emma says her favorite classes are Yoga and Teaching Assistant. Emma is running cross country this fall and will play basketball in the winter and run track in the spring. Emma says her favorite new food is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Emma, who is just fifteen, has two more years of high school to complete when she returns to Australia, and says she would like to go on and study something sport related in college.
Dominique Woods is a junior from southern Germany near Stuttgart. Dominique is staying with Ron, Trish and Ronnie Maldonado. Dominique likes it in Vernonia because he says there is more going on here than in his small town in Germany. Dominique is playing football and says he will also play basketball and baseball for the Loggers. Dominique says he really enjoyed trying cornbread for the first time when he was at the Glass home for dinner. Dominique says his favorite class is Health because it is very interesting and also Advanced Conditioning. Dominique still has two years of high school to complete when he returns to Germany. After that he says he would like to return to the United States for college.