After reading about the United States and learning English, Alessandro Baschieri of Finale Emilia, Italy, decided to apply to be a foreign exchange student for his senior year of high school.
"I wanted to visit America, to travel and have new experiences," Baschieri said. "I wanted to experience the roots of this special country and its people."
Meanwhile last summer, Michael and Janet Roberts of Girard responded to an advertisement with World Heritage, and before long, the Roberts were welcoming Baschieri into their home and community.
Special to Girard Community News
Girard High School exchange student, Alessandro Baschieri spent the 2012-13 school year with the family of Michael and Janet Roberts of Girard. Alessandro will be returning to Italy in June after graduating May 26 with his Girard High School class. Pictured from left are: Reynald Paolone, teacher; Baschieri; and William Ryser, high school principal.
According to Janet Roberts, it was three weeks before the beginning of school that they were on their way to the Cleveland airport to meet Ale. The next day he enrolled as a senior at Girard High School.
"Ale has enriched our school culture in ways that my students, my staff, and I will never forget," said Girard High School Principal William Ryser.
Ryser said having Baschieri in the school has brought not only an international perspective to the students and staff, but also has modeled kindness and tolerance for people who were raised with a different background.
Baschieri will graduate with the class on May 26 and will return to Italy June 2.
"I knew from the moment I met Alessandro that he was special," said Girard teacher Reynald Paolone. "He was a tremendous addition to our school community in every way, we will all be sad to see him go."
After living for nine months in the U.S., Baschieri has mixed feelings about returning to Italy.
"I had high hopes about my adventures in America and let me say I have not been disappointed," he said.
As far as the Roberts, they say they will be sorry to see him go.
"Ale became a son to us and we thank God that we had the privilege of having him live with us," said Janet Roberts. "Our home will always be his home."
Volunteers host families are currently needed to host students for the upcoming 2013-14 school year, Janet Roberts said. Exchange students are ages 15 to 18 and arrive with their own spending money and medical insurance.
Host families are just required to provide room and board and parental love and guidance for the students during their stay, Janet Roberts said.
For more information on volunteering as a host family for an exchange student can contact World Heritage area representative Jamie at 330-240-8219 or visit the website, host.world-heritage.org.