Morenci's exchange students: Claire Van Bon 2012.10.17

Written by David Green.

claireClaire Van Bon knew when she signed up with a student exchange program that she would face new challenges and experiences in America. She's certainly getting her fill.

"It's quiet outside," she said.

Coming from the Dutch city of Oss, with a population of 58,000 people, to the rural Morenci home of Bryan and Jennie Hilton, it took a while for Claire to adjust to the silence of the night. No trains, cars and people on the street throughout the night.

"I used my iPod music to fall asleep at first," she said.

At home, she's accustomed to taking the train around the city or even hopping on a bicycle to transport herself. Now she's dependent on her host family or other students to drive her into town.

There are also some stark differences in the school system. In the Netherlands, her high school has 5,000 students. Sports, band and other activities are all separate from school. That's only for academics. The schedule varies from day to day at her school and some days she's not in class the entire day.

"School is a lot different," Claire said. "You can listen to music. You don't have to do your homework. It's your own responsibility. Here, you're forced to do everything."

Clair has a sister at home in Oss. Her mother directs a medical office and her father formerly owned a furniture store. She's already finished high school and will attend college next year to study hospitality and event management.

She's looking forward to a trip to Holland, Mich., hoping she can find a store selling some Dutch food.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.

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