Exchange families receive presidential award
Two Bingham County families recently President's Volunteer Service Awards for their part in hosting exchange students this year.
Glenn and Shannon Thomson and Tom and Donna Bevan and their families welcomed three high school students into their homes for the 2011-2012 school year.
Pernille Andersen of Denmark and Fanny Winqvist of Sweden and Stephanie Moyaert of Belguim are all seniors at Snake River High School. Andersen and Winqvist live with the Thomsons while Moyaert lives with the Bevans.
Moyaert said she learned of the Pax Academic Exchange program through her English teacher.
"I came to get better at English," said Winqvist while Moyaert added, "it looks great on your resume" and Andersen said, "it's to learn to adapt to new situations. If we don't do it now, we never will."
Moyaert will begin college in Belgium in the fall while Andersen and Winqvist will complete high school before moving on to college.
This is the fourth year the Thomsons have participated in the program while the Bevans are in their first year.
"The biggest benefit to the program is our kids get to see we're the same all around the world," said Tom Bevan. "They can see we're actually one family.
"It has been a pleasant experience to share culture with them," he added.
Nine-year-old Jannae Thomson said, "we learned that, no matter what age you are, you can still be friends."
Elise Bevan, a high school student herself, said, "it's been a really good learning experience for me. I got a best friend out of it."
Shannon Thomson said, "people ask me why we do this. The world need this. Americans tend to think, 'it's all me.' It's good for the kids in my family and the kids at the high school to see that there are other people out there."