Exchange 2018 a big success
Twenty students and four chaperones from Thonon les Bains arrived on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 to reunite with their exchange student friends, for the second half of the student exchange that began last year. It was a busy, fun-filled eight days. Highights included a Valentine’s Party at the VFW Hall, a day and a half at Mercer Island High School, visits to Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, University Village, the Space Needle, Chihuly Museum, “Ride the Duck,” Seattle Aquarium, “Wings Over Washington,” Bainbridge Island, – and much more.. The family-to-family exchanges have been a very successful part of the “jumelage” between Mercer Island and Thonon les Bains since the Sister City relationship was established in 2000.
Special “MERCI!” to the host parents for their cooperation and help – and to MISCA board members Beth Brennen and Monica Howell who were the main organizers of the exchange. Here are the names of the Mercer Island High School student hosts,with the names of their exchange student counterparts:
Caroline Atkinson /Elisa Duflot; Annika Evens /Beatriz Viela; Benjamin Flaherty / Clement Iacazzi; Brandon Hill / Julien Lavanchy; Connor Hill /Jules Fatout; Megan Iliuc / Mathilde Duflot; Justin Jradi / Erik Estrella; Braden McGee /Clement Henin; Tynan McGee / Clement Henin; Chloe Michaels / Emma Breband; Joshua Miner / Clement Buffet; Mallory Nichol /Julien Bessonard; Mark Pearson / Jonah Doucet; Sarah Pickles / Amandine Roth; Anna Sham /Florent Birraux; Shelby Catherine Shepherd / Luna Begue; Justin Skene / Come Dalla Costa; Ella Veljovich / Margaud Roche; Ashley Waiss / Honorine Menouillard; Meghan Waiss / Diane-Claire Andre; Hannah Whobrey /Olivia Meriguet.
The following is a comment by Chris Mochel, mother of Casey Mochel, who was one of our first exchange students years ago.
This year Chris hosted one of the chaperones, who had been the host mother to Casey when she was in Thonon. Over the years the two mothers have stayed in touch, visited each other, and have become close friends. The exchange experience is enriching to parents as well as students!
Here’s what Chris said: “It was wonderful to watch the French students become friends with each other as they bonded with their Mercer Island families and explored our beautiful island and the Pacific Northwest. We know that peer social interaction is one of the most important areas of growth and development for teens and we saw that blossoming among all the youths… French and Mercer Islanders. Our visitors certainly return to France with a feeling of a welcoming home and embracing community on Mercer Island, too. Their lives have been changed in wonderful ways through your generous efforts in this valuable cultural exchange with our sister city.”