OXFORD — Talawanda High School will receive the “2014 Top AFS School” Award from AFS-USA, an educational organization specializing in international high school student exchange programs.
According to the AFS, formerly known as the American Field Service, schools recognized for this award promote global citizenship through intercultural learning inside and outside of the classroom. Talawanda was one of 79 districts nationwide to receive this distinction.
Kristi Campbell, the AFS parent coordinator for the district, said annually the AFS evaluates which schools “promote the program and really show an active interest in exchange students and promoting international learning that goes on in the school.”
She noted that teachers have always shown a strong interest in the exchange students, and the local students always reach out to their visitors, who stay with local host families in a 10-month program. The program has three to five exchange students each year. This year, they are from Norway, Brazil, Russia, the Netherlands and Finland.
“It’s just been really embraced by the community at Talawanda and Oxford,” said Campbell, who has been with the program for about five years. It was spearheaded by the late Linda Straus several years ago.
Over the years, Talawanda families have hosted from at least 23 countries and sent more students abroad to all parts of the globe, according to the AFS. The high school maintains an active AFS club to promote global awareness and activities.
“We’re so thankful and proud to work in educational partnership with schools (at) Talawanda,” said Tonya Muro, the director of school outreach and educational partnerships at AFS-USA. “These educators are at the forefront of bringing global awareness and intercultural experiences to their students. In doing so, they are providing students, teachers and the greater community profound opportunities to broaden their knowledge of other cultures and peoples, which is indispensable in this day and age.”