German exchange student attending Fayette High School 09.10.09

Written by David Green.

andy.karan.jpgFrankfurt, Germany, is about 500 times bigger than Fayette, Ohio, but that’s all right with Andy Karathanasis.

Small town life is going well. He’s making friends and enjoying school, and everybody here is very friendly.

At home, Andy rides the train to school—a journey of about 40 minutes—while here he looks out the back door of Rod and Suzy Sommers’s house and sees the school just a few minutes walk away.

Like most exchange students, Andy finds school work easier here than at home, except for the extra challenge of the language difference.

“I get a lot more support from the teachers here,” he said. “They’re more friendly and I can get help immediately.”

Andy is classified as a junior in Fayette. If he does well, he’s hoping this year’s studies will count as his 11th year and then he’ll have just two more years remaining of high school back in Germany.

High school sports are common here, but in Germany athletics are run only as clubs, separate from the school. He participated in handball for seven years, but gave it up to concentrate on his studies.

He has joined Fayette’s cross country team and he’s thinking of giving basketball and baseball a try. He’s also in the choir.

Andy has a twin 16-year-old sister at home and he also has a 19-year-old brother. His mother provides after-school childcare and his father is an electronics repair technician.

The Sommers are no strangers to exchange students. Their first guest was from Norway back in the 1990s. Andy is their fourth German visitor.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016