Rotary Club Hosts Foreign Students for the Holidays

For more than 10 years, the Rotary Club of Wheeling has hosted foreign exchange students for a few days during the holiday season.

This season was no exception, as the club entertained eight students for three days.

“We had a delightful time,” said club President Cindy Fluharty.

“These students were phenomenal,” she continued. “They were sweet, funny, curious and very happy. They represented cultures from across the globe, and seeing them bond together gives me hope that, on a personal level, if you talk to anyone, from anywhere, and take the time to get to know them, they will be your friend.”

Every year the Rotary’s Northern District of West Virginia sponsors students to spend a school year in the state. And the Rotarians try to do something special for them each month.

The Wheeling club brought the students to the local area, where they were housed by club member the Rev. Bob Johnson and his wife, Alma, who have provided accommodations for most of the years the club has hosted the students.

The Youth Exchange students were taken to Oglebay Resort to see the Winter Festival of Lights. They also visited West Virginia Independence Hall, West Liberty State College Media Arts Center, a Wheeling Nailers game, ice skating at Wheeling Park and Cabela’s at The Highlands.

Lesley Link, the Wheeling club’s International Committee chairwoman and district youth counselor, coordinated the event.

“I find this to be one of the most rewarding programs,” she said. “They all come from different backgrounds. I can’t believe how well they bond. They talk about themselves and their backgrounds, government and people. They really know what’s going on in the world.”

Regarding their visit, she said, “They loved it. They had fun and had a wonderful time.”

The Wheeling Club will also be sponsoring a ski trip for the group in February.

“These students have embraced life in West Virginia,” Fluharty concluded.