Proud to be Demons this year
The crowd attending the Washington School Board meeting Wednesday all chuckled and smiled welcomingly as exchange student Pasoari Widiastuti, who arrived at the beginning of the semester from her home country of Indonesia, said she loved the Washington school district.
“It is an awesome high school,” she said. “I’m proud to be a Demon.”
Widiastuti was one of three exchange students who are visiting the country for a year through World Link Inc. The group conducts exchange programs with both teachers and students to improve understanding between cultures.
Saying she had dreamed of coming to the United States since she was 7 years old, the 17-year-old Widiastuti said that she was afraid at first to be coming to a country where a different language was spoken than her native Indonesian. The fear quickly faded as she met her host family and began her classes. She attended the school board meeting dressed in a native Indonesian gown.
“Thank you very much for the opportunity,” she said to the school board. “I will do the best I can.”
Sherrie Nisly of World Link said that this is the first time that Washington had hosted a student from Indonesia.
Ines Dameska of Macedonia said that the biggest culture shock that she experienced was all the time she had spent with her host parents. She said that in her hometown everything was close enough that she could walk anywhere. She and her friends used to go out every night. In Washington, Dameska lives on a farm and is not able to go out all the time.
“It is quite a great experience,” she said, of her decision to come to America.
Danijela Zivkovic of Serbia, said that she never believed she would have the opportunity to come to the United States. Since she has been here, she helped a group of students paint a flag on the Brighton Meat Locker. She has become a part of many extracurricular activities, mostly revolving around acting and performance.
Zivkovic said that at home she and her friends walk about four miles a day.
“We could take the bus, but we don’t want to,” she said.
In other business, the board:
• voted to hire R&L Mowing as the district’s landscaper;
• approved a bid of 2.312 percent interest on a bond for the remaining $1.5 million of the new high school project; and
• discussed early retirement for people in the district. Washington Schools Superintendent Mike Jorgensen said that money for an early retirement program hadn’t been budgeted for and that no one in the district had expressed interest in such a program.