The Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club recently welcomed home Sarah L. Beimel of Sherman and bid farewell to Omar de la Barrara of Mexico, both Rotary-sponsored exchange students.
An International Exchange student, Sarah spent her years in Germany residing with two host families during her tenure there. She attended school as an equivalent of a "senior," after which she joined a bus load of other Rotary exchange students in a tour of Europe.
One of four finalists to be tapped for the experience abroad, Sarah was selected by the club as a result of a recruiting campaign in five area high schools, including Brocton, Westfield, Ripley, Chautauqua Lake and her home school, Sherman.
Omar de La Barrara’s Westfield host family, the Harringtons, joined him for lunch at the Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club meeting recently. The club was Omar’s exchange student sponsor. From left, Mike, host dad; Chacho, Omar’s brother; MacKensie, host sister; Adele, host mom; Omar; Lillian and Fausto, Omar’s mom and dad.
Introduced to club members by Don Dowling, Sarah narrated a power point presentation of her travels, all of which she not only enjoyed and learned to speak German, but also enhanced her knowledge of Europe.
"Sarah is an accomplished young woman whose interests range from the sciences, reading, writing, playing the cello, acting and trap shooting," said Dowling. "In her exchange year, she demonstrated persistence and maturity as she pursued her goals of becoming fluent in the German language and gaining an understanding of another culture."
The daughter of Michael J. and Karen Beimel, Sarah plans to attend the University of Buffalo in the fall.
Before bidding farewell to Westfield, Omar and both his home and host families shared lunch with the Rotarians who sponsored him. Introduced by Don Dowling, Youth Committee chair, Omar said, with a big smile, "There's no way to put into words for having me here. I had amazing experiences and I'm sure I will visit you again."
Upon request, Omar supplied a summary of his year in Westfield for all to share:
"A thank-you is not enough to start describing how grateful I am at seeing a part of Westfield community, and I also have so many people to thank that it would probably never end. The list goes on forever.
"First of all, my host family, the Harringtons. Beautiful people, inside and out, that opened the doors of their home and hearts to me, and made me feel a part of a new amazing family, including uncles, aunts, baby cousins and an amazing Nana.
"Also, all my teachers and coach in WACS that always were there for me whenever I needed their support And, most importantly, my friends important people that I will always remember.
"And, last but not least, the Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club for hosting me and especially to Don Dowling and Adam Dimitri for always being there for me for anything I needed.
"Westfield is a great community which I'm proud to be part of. I will always remember this year because this wasn't a year in my life; it was a life in one year. Until the next time."