Friday, September 26, 2008


"I thought it was a great experience!" Heidi Katz, class of 2010, writes about the high-school students from Spain who visited HHS this month. "It really helped me see how much Spanish I really knew and made me excited about learning more! I got along great with my student and can't wait to go to Spain!"

Every other year the long-standing exchange program between the Instituto Gerald Brenan in Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain sends a group of enthusiastic students and their teachers to the Upper Valley to learn about American culture and practice their English. The photo shows the visitors with their HHS hosts. The Spanish students stay with host families such as the Kellers, parents of Carolyn Keller, class of 2011. Kevin Keller writes: "We really had a fantastic time with Laura's visit. She was the perfect houseguest and had exactly the right attitude to take advantage of the exchange. She practiced her English whenever she could and got involved in all the typical American high-school activities. And we got a chance to learn some about life in Spain too. Even though we were worried that two and a half weeks would be too long ... we would do it again in a minute. It really was a fun learning experience for all."

Jeff Polidor, class of 2011, adds: "Everyone was awesome. There was no Spaniard that I did not like, and that goes for all of the Americans as well. After each trip to a different American place, my Spaniard always told me what a great time he had, and I believe that there was a mix of education as well of fun." Host parent Nancy Katz writes: "Having been paired with a student who said she did not like animals (and we have 3 dogs and 5 cats), I was a bit concerned how the visit would go. Our student, Nareida, turned out to be wonderful with going with the flow. At first I worried that she wouldn't eat anything, but she did find she enjoyed brownies and apple crisp, and would eat at McDonald's any chance she got. We thought it was funny that she bought baseballs for her friends back home. She was a great match for our daughter Heidi -- both dislike fish and love chicken, both enjoy dance, and Nareida showed us some flamenco and salsa. The last night I drove Heidi, Nareida and another friend to cosmic bowling. The girls all sat in the far back, singing along with the radio and taking photos of each other and laughing."

The twenty students and three adults will also visit New York, Boston, Portsmouth and many other places in New Hampshire and Vermont, both with their school group and with their Upper Valley host families. Spanish teacher Penelope Prendergast writes: "The program would not enjoy its consistent success without the generous support of the school administration and our Hanover High families. Thank you all very much!"