Posted by Jim Garrett
Lisa Scott, our own international Rotary Youth Exchange maestro, took the floor.  She provided a brief update on the short-term summer exchange, reporting that Jack Foster is now in Italy visiting Mario Rizzo, and that Lousie Mequignon-Lariviere recently returned to France after a wonderful stay with in Pagosa with Sarah Ross.
Lisa also reported that two inbound exchange students for the 2018-19 school year will be here this month, one from Denmark the other from Chile.  We will make their acquaintance soon, she reminded.
Lisa then turned to her principle topic for the day, the two Pagosa students outbound for a year’s exchange: Lauren Roland, ticketed for Denmark, and Savannah Vasquez, bound for Romania.  After Lisa’s introductions, the two girls took a few minutes to tell Rotarians about themselves.
Savannah went first.  She spent the earliest years of her life in Cape Coral, Florida, and moved to Colorado in 2015.  She relishes the fact that with the clear air here, one can see great distances, as much as 100 miles from a good vantage point, she said.  Local site-seeing, and the 4th of July Parade are other big highlights cited by Savannah.  At the High School, she likes the option to take a variety of electives, and enjoys participating in cheerleading, especially the camaraderie.  And she said, the Proms are great, with everybody having a lot of fun.
Lauren, the daughter of a retired US Airforce Master Sergeant, also spent the early part of her life far from Pagosa Springs, moving back and forth between Tucson, Arizona and Germany, as her father’s post of duty changed.  With lots of experience of life in different parts of the world, and the associations she enjoyed with families from other NATO member countries, Lauren said she loves to travel.  When her father retired, she recalled, her family first moved to Missouri before settling in Colorado.  Moving here was a good choice, she said, for which she is thankful.  Here her family especially loves camping, and hanging out together (including the dogs, Lauren promptly added).
Lauren’s parents were in the audience, and when she finished her talk, expressed their thanks to Rotary for making it possible for Lauren to have the opportunity to participate in the exchange program.
Lisa then thanked Lauren and Savannah.  She told both they have “grown so much” already in the past year, and predicted they will be “great ambassadors.”