Foreign exchange students recognized

WOLFHURST – When the Martins Ferry Rotary Club disbanded in 2009, the fate of the popular International Night was in limbo.

However, another service organization, the Bridgeport Rotary Club, stepped up to the plate and has delivered a home run in the three years it has staged the event.

Thursday night was no different at the former St. Joe School gymnasium as more than 80 foreign exchange students from all around the world congregated for the 53rd anniversary.

“We welcome the students and give them a chance to meet other students,” explained Rotary Club member Vicki Bland, who also serves as Assistant District Governor for District 6690. “Some of them exchange email addresses and build friendships.”

She said last year’s event drew more than 100 students, which attend Wheeling Jesuit University, West Liberty University, Linsly School, Olney Friends School, Wheeling Park High School and the NW Peace Program.

“It’s a fun event,” Bland added.

Flags were hung around the gymnasium signifying the countries of each foreign exchange student.

Following a spaghetti and meatball dinner, each student gave a greeting in his/her native language, stating country, school and special studies future plans, career choices and any personal message he/she shared with the audience.

Countries represented were Dominican Republic Congo (16), China (10), South Korea (8), Venezuela (7), Saudi Arabia (5), Equador (4), Germany (4), Bahamas (3), India (3), and Brazil (2), Cameroon (2) and Serbia (2). Those nations having one representative each included Belgium, Burundi, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Spain, Taiwan and the Ukraine.

Following the program, all students and those in attendance were treated to a ice cream social, courtesy of the Kathy Wallace and Mary Vivod of the Martins Ferry Dairy Queen. Programs, flags and placemats were compliments of The Citizens Bank.

The Martins Ferry Rotary Club sponsored International Night, starting in 1949.

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