This year, Emery Park Elementary hosted a visitation event for students who have been participating in the Sister City Education Program, which is a student exchange platform where students have the opportunity to travel to foreign countries with the intent to become familiar with different cultures and develop a greater understanding of global society. On October 13th, six high school students from Australia visited Emery Park for a day full of interactive activities. These students had been living in the U.S for the past month and live with host families in the area. Laura Holman, Sophee Turner, Mia Barbeitos, Tiarna Foster, Brodie Harris and Darcy Ryan were formally introduced at a school wide assembly, where Principal Jeremy Ifranca welcomed to students to Emery Park students as well as faculty and staff. After a hospitable applause from the student body, the six student ambassadors presented the school with gifts of gratitude.
The guests then made a series of classroom visits, spanning Kindergarden-3rd grade classes. There, they talked with the students about their nation, gave a brief historical background of the origins of Australia and showed students where it is located on a map. Emery Park students were amazed when they saw how far away it was and how long it took for them to travel to America. They also discussed the key differences between the two cultures in terms of governmental organization, school system and sports. After this learning experience, it was story time, where the visitors read aloud from an Australian children’s book.
Next on the agenda was a Q and A session in the auditorium, where the exchange students answered questions on a variety of topics from students and teachers. They were able to share information about the Exchange Program and what compelled them to visit the United States. They also about spoke in depth the Australian school system and shared more key facts about Australia.
To end the visit, the student ambassadors and Emery Park ASB members participated in a Meet and Greet gathering, where they conversed and exchanged more gifts while enjoying some light refreshments. Superintendent Laura Tellez-Gagliano was there to welcome them and along with the ASB members, who made them feel right at home. This experience was beneficial for both parties due to the knowledge attained by all involved. Emery Park students were able to learn a lot about Australia and the differences in lifestyle of people in that part of the world while the older Australian students were able to continue to broaden their worldview and build on skills that will help them as they transition into adulthood.