Out-bound-student, Mary Ritchie, presented a program detailing her involvement with Rotary and preparations for her forthcoming trip later this summer
Out-bound-student, Mary Ritchie, presented a program detailing her involvement with Rotary and preparations for her forthcoming trip later this summer
Mary was raised in Geyserville, where she attended her early years of school. Following parental divorce, she spent her time between Geyserville and Healdsburg. She is currently a sophomore at Healdsburg High School and is taking advanced placement classes. She views her strengths as mathematics and problem-solving. She currently holds a 4.24 GPA. She is taking English 100 at the Santa Rosa Junior College to help complete some of the requirements for her junior year which she will not be getting when she is away.
She has always been drawn to life by a sense of adventure. When she learned of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program she was very excited. She had two days to put together her application, and was selected two days after it was submitted and she had been interviewed.
Travel has always interested her, although she does not like flying. She thinks she will be able to overcome this problem on her way to Paraguay. She recently flew to Portland to visit her sister, Rebecca, and lightheartedly talked about land transportation once she arrived in Portland, getting lost, but ultimately ending up with her sister. It was a great confidence builder!
She is already thinking about some of the anxieties associated with a year away from home. Top on her list is traveling by herself. She will miss her dog and worries about homesickness. From what she has learned of Paraguay, there is very little time for sleep and she fears that she may be tired most of the time. As with all people who travel and try to assimilate into a different culture she is concerned about language skills as well as about the effects of the Paraguayan diet on her lifestyle.
She is doing a great deal of reading to broaden her perspective of the world. She has been researching Rotary International and hopes to be a good ambassador from our Club, as well as District 5130 during her sojourn. She hopes to encourage other youths from Paraguay to participate in Rotary Youth Exchange programs  She hopes to develop lifetime memories of her time in a foreign land during her junior year in high school. I do not think that there will be a problem with that.
Paraguay is a landlocked country. 75% of its borders are rivers. It is one of the largest hydroelectric power producers in the world. One of the seven wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls is situated at the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The native language is Guarani, frequently interspersed with Spanish, making for an interesting environment in which to learn a new "language".
She does not yet know the name of the town in which she will be living. As with all Rotary Youth Exchange programs, she will live with three separate host families during her nine months in the country.
She has already had several very successful fundraisers and will be coming back to the Club with more opportunities to enlist our financial support.