Learning a foreign language can be an enriching experience, especially when students have the opportunity to study abroad and immerse themselves in the culture of the spoken language.
By residing in another country, they can become fluent in a shorter period of time, as well as expand their perspectives and appreciation for people from different parts of the world.
Such experiences are invaluable in helping prepare students for living in a global society.
For many, they are life-changing. Woodinville High School sophomore Scott Morley hopes his upcoming year abroad will be just that, and more.
The teen is one of 250 students selected nationwide for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program and he will be heading to Germany come July.
Through this program, motivated high school students from the U.S. are given the opportunity to live with a host family and attend school for an academic year in Germany.
Since 1983, more than 17,000 students have been able to gain first-hand experience of German life, including family, school, culture, recreation and more.
Participants are regarded as youth ambassadors of the U.S. and share their life and culture with their German hosts, building greater understanding of America and its diversity. Morley, who has been studying German for the past two years, applied to the program as a ninth grader and made it to the semi-finalist level.
"I applied again this year because I just really wanted to do it," he explains. "I’m very interested in everything German and I see this as a great opportunity to learn more about the culture, while also improving my language skills."
The teen will be based in Aachen, Germany, a sizable city near the Belgium/Netherlands border. He will be living with the Sträter family, who he knows consists of mom, dad and two boys, ages 11 and 14.
"I got a letter from them," he comments. "The kids like soccer and swimming and the parents enjoy cooking and family activities. They live in the suburbs."
Morley is particularly excited about Aachen, as it has one of the top engineering schools in Germany.
"I plan to study engineering in college, hopefully at M.I.T., Cal Tech or UW," he adds, "so this is a bonus."
While abroad, the teen will attend a German high school, where all of his classes will be conducted in German.
To prepare him for the experience, he will attend an orientation program in Washington, D.C., that will introduce him to German customs, followed by a month-long language immersion camp.
As part of the program, Congress-Bundestag scholars meet with German government officials and tour various cities around the country.
High on Morley’s list to visit are the cities of Berlin and Stuttgart, as well as the Bavarian Alps.
The poised and self-assured teen doesn’t think he will pine for his family or friends while he is away.
"I know I’ll miss people," he admits, "but they’ll still be here when I return."
In the meantime, Morley plans to enjoy everything about his upcoming experience.
He adds, "I’m not afraid of trying new things and I look forward to meeting new people, seeing new places and making new friends. I think it’s going to be a great year."
Two Bothell High School theatre arts students are headed to Lincoln, Neb., in June after strong presentations at the Washington State Thespian Conference held recently at Western Washington University.
Senior Rachel Dooley qualified in stage management after presenting a portfolio of her work as stage manager for the school’s winter production, The SeussOdyssey. "I was asked to put together a production book which needed to include dates from the rehearsals and performances of the show, a costume plot, a prop plot, a scenic change plot, and a script with your blocking, lighting cues, and sound cues. In the presentation I was expected to explain the steps I went through as a stage manager and explain to the judges what I did to help make the director’s dream for the production a reality," said Dooley.
Dooley hopes to attend Central Washington University and major in stage management.
"I do plan on pursuing stage management in the future. I feel like it is a large field that is always looking for more people. I intend on keeping around the stage and stage managing plays or musicals, however I have also discovered an interest in what stage managers might do upon cruise ships or in productions not set in a conventional theatre," she added.
Not only did Dooley stage manage the winter production, but she also helped form a technical theatre club at BHS and serves as its first president. The club helps with set design and construction for all productions.
Sarah White, a junior, qualified in Costume Design. For her project, White created five costume designs for the play, Freak. "I had to show my process of designing my costumes," White said.
For her presentation she had to record her inspirations for each design – in her case it ranged from Disney’s Dumbo to impressionist artists. "I had to also create a concept. A lot of people don’t realize that costume design is more than having the item look good – there is a lot of symbolism in most everything. For instance I used the color red to highlight the characters weaknesses," she said.
Summer is just around the corner, and that means an increased need for babysitters as many parents scramble to find seasonal care for their out-of-school children.
Well-trained babysitters can play an important role in preventing life-threatening situations or help lessen the danger of such situations by knowing how to appropriately react if and when they occur. Well-trained babysitters can manage their surroundings and the behavior of the children they are charged with protecting, including how to stay calm in potential crisis situations.
So where can babysitters get this training?
The Northshore Fire Department is offering two 2-day Safe Sitter® classes this summer. The first is scheduled for July 7-8, the second for August 4-5. Class runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
The class is open to girls and boys ages 11 to 13. Class size is limited to 16 students.
Safe Sitter® (www.safesitter.org) is the only national nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to preparing young adolescents for the profound responsibility of nurturing and protecting children. It is a program that teaches young adolescents how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children, including basic lifesaving techniques such as infant and child CPR. Students learn safety precautions, how to understand children of different ages, and the business of babysitting. Cost for the class is $40 and includes a take-home Safe Sitters kit.