Children First: Exchanging Hospitality

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Seven foreign exchange students from Spain, France, Korea, Germany, and Brazil received a warm welcome from some of the student body, faculty, and staff of Meridian High School.

"We wanted to officially welcome them to MHS and Meridian," said MHS assistant principal Cheryl Thomas.

"As mayor, I'm here to welcome these students, and I think it is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet us and for us to meet them," said Mayor John Robert Smith.

As part of the exchange program, students will be spending one to two semesters with their host families, who will house them, feed them, and make them feel at home.

"You get to fix their rooms. It's like having a baby, but they are grown up. It's a lot of fun, and they want to come here. It is their life-long dream, and they have to have the families to come home to," said Tricia Chaney, a host parent and exchange program coordinator.

For most of the exchange students, this is their first time being in the U.S.

"I hope to learn and get to know foreign culture," said Tobias Diekmeyer of Germany.

"I hope this is a good experience for me, and I hope to learn a lot while I am here," said Marine Serre of France.

Exchange program organizers say they still have 14 exchange students looking for a host family. If you are interested in being one you may call Lacy Heim at (601) 485-0486.