FIFTEEN James Hargest College junior campus pupils will pack their bags later this year for an American adventure.
Teachers Charlotte Payne and Jane Mika, and two chaperones, will accompany the group of 15 ambassadors to visit Meeker Middle School in Tacoma, Washington.
They will also spend six days in Los Angeles at the start of the trip, visiting theme parks such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
This is the 29th year of the exchange programme. Pupils stay with host families and it is an opportunity for them to experience a different culture and make themselves a part of the family as much as possible while they stay.
Mrs Payne said this was great for pupils’ growth and development.
“It has a major benefit for their confidence,” she said.
“Because they’re having to immerse themselves in another family,” Mrs Mika said.
Pupils Owen Horgan and Mia Switalla (both 12) said they were excited about the exchange.
It would be the first time visiting the United States (US) for both pupils and along with looking forward to Disneyland and other opportunities in Los Angeles, they were also looking forward to the opportunities the exchange would bring.
“I’m looking forward to LA but then also staying with the family and experiencing stuff over there,” Mia said.
James Hargest pupils travel to the US each year in September/October, while pupils from Meeker Middle School visit Southland in February.
Owen said he enjoyed having the Meeker pupils at James Hargest earlier this year.
“It was fun and exciting because we got to show them around Invercargill and around Southland,” he said.
Pupils needed to apply to be part of the programme. Mrs Mika said it was a big commitment for the pupils and their families, as there was a lot they were involved with leading up to the exchange.
This included individual and group fundraising.
One of the activities the pupils were working on ahead of the trip was preparing a speech about something in New Zealand they didn’t have in the US, which would show the difference between the two countries, Mrs Payne said.
Owen said his speech would be about sheep farming, while Mia would speak about the history of the haka.
To help fundraise for this year’s trip, a Citizens of the World Variety Show has been organised for next month at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club.
The evening’s entertainment will include Dave McMeeking, Hazel Blue, Lady Friday, Midnight Cruise and more, with MC Liv Cochrane, from The Hits.
Mrs Mika said there would also be auctions and raffles on the night. Tickets were also being sold for tables of 10.
Owen encouraged Southlanders to attend the variety show because it would be entertaining while also supporting a good cause.
“And I’m sure if you would go you would have fun.”
Citizens of the World Variety Show, Invercargill Workingmen’s Club, Saturday, June 9. Doors open 6.30pm, starts 7.30pm. Tickets $35 (includes supper), available from the James Hargest College junior campus office, phone (03) 217 9250.