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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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