Peace spreads one by one as foreigners become friends.  Rotary's youth exchange program is based on that precept.  Our exchange student this year, Mathis Bergay from France, reported on his year.  There is hope in the world with youth like Mathis.
Mathis comfortably blended in at the Yacht Club eating a breakfast of eggs, Portuguese sausage, and rice.  He thoroughly enjoyed his year attending Waiakea High School, hosted by David Hurd's family, and would be leaving Hawaii this week.  During his busy year:
  • he met other exchange students;
  • participated in sports where he made his closest friends, suffering and playing together on the cross country, track team, JV basketball;
  • volunteered with various Rotary projects;
  • volunteered as a member of student organizations such as Interact with his favorite project being the Ironman;
  • participated in RYLA Camp and met students from all over the island;
  • saw lava for the first time;
  • visited Subaru telescope on a private tour arranged by Junichi;
  • Attended Junior Ball where he enjoyed dancing and marveled that there is nothing like it in France;
  • Attended District Conference on Maui;
  • Visited Oahu with the Hurd family and visited Pearl Harbor, Punchbowl, Iolani Palace where Hawaii 5-0 filmed, north shore to snorkel and eat shave ice.
Listening to his story, you sense a thread of character-- willingness to try anything, appreciation that comes with humility and respect, genuine friendliness.  He will miss the friends he made.  But there is no doubt that the friends he made have a different perspective of France because of their opportunity to know Mathis.