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TDHS named ‘top AFS school’

The Dalles High School was recently awarded the “2014 Top AFS National School” title.

AFS-USA, an educational organization focused on international high school student exchange, recognized The Dalles High based on its continued partnership with the organization to “promote global citizenship through intercultural learning,” according to the latest press release.

“Only 79 schools in the nation were awarded this distinction,” the press release states, and the “high schools selected from around the country for this recognition are making a profound difference in the lives of students and in society at large.”

“The ability to speak another language, to navigate in a different cultural context, and to emerge as a more tolerant and globally informed citizen,” it says, “are critical skills for today’s youth.”

The Dalles High School has been supporting intercultural education for decades. Beginning in 1957, the first hosted student in The Dalles was Randi Pytte from Norway, hosted by Dr. & Mrs. E. L. Stevenson.

In total, The Dalles AFS Chapter has hosted 141 students from 79 countries and sent 80 students to 36 different countries beginning with Sally Hyde studying in France in 1957.

Over the years, volunteers, host families and school educators have “built bridges of cultural understanding through bringing AFS into the school, hosting students and supporting our American students to travel abroad,” according to local AFS coordinator Rymmel Lovell.

Most recently, The Dalles High School junior Anna Miller went to Spain for the AFS Summer Program, and Mary McIntosh is currently in Norway for this school year.

“Hosting intercultural exchange students and sending our American students abroad creates a global community,” Lovell said. “The Dalles has dedicated years to building bridges of understanding.”

Hannah Lupkes, a current student at TDWHS, is going on an intercultural program to Turkey for one school year and will depart this coming August. AFS is also offering a scholarship to The Dalles students who wish to pursue an international program this year.

“It is AFS’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to The Dalles Wahtonka High for being a supporter of intercultural education,” Lovell said.

Interested students will tell AFS what it means to be a global citizen through creative art submissions. Entries must be in the form of a photograph, video or illustration.

On April 10th, AFS will announce the Top School Award at the School Board Meeting as well as show appreciation for their long-standing support of inspiring global citizenship.

For more information about AFS, contact Rymmel Lovell at tlovell@netcnct.net.

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