Central Rotarians saw the fruits of their contribution to Lawrence’s Sister Cities organization when Elizabeth Grinage and Chehailis Jones spoke to the club on August 3. These two young women were the recipients of 2016 travel scholarships provided by the club.
Kelly Schultz, a nine-year member of the advisory board, explained that the Sister Cities program was devised during the Eisenhower administration in order to promote relationships among people and reduce the likelihood of conflict in the world—values certainly consistent with Rotary’s aims. Lawrence has three Sister Cities: Eutin, Germany; Hiratsuka, Japan; and Iniades, Greece. There is a Friends group in Lawrence for each city. Friendship gardens here symbolize the effort and care that it takes to generate the beauty of international relationships. The student travel program is a reciprocal one where Lawrence students spend time in homes in one of the Sister Cities and then host their new friends here in our community. Porter Arneill, the city staff liaison for Sister Cities, was also in attendance.
Elizabeth, a junior this fall at Free State High School, spent a month visiting Eutin, Germany, along with six other Lawrence students. Not only did Elizabeth stay in the home of a German family, she attended school, a real challenge since she has only been studying German for two years. The Eutin parks and gardens and the local castle impressed her in particular. In visits to other cities, she explored churches, a miniature museum, and an outdoor festival. The group spent five days in Berlin, visited a concentration camp, and mixed with the crowd of soccer enthusiasts during a public viewing of a game. She visited a seal rescue station on the North Sea and held a jellyfish in her hands at the Baltic Sea. Favorite new foods: “spaghetti ice” and “milk rice,” rice cooked in milk with sugar and served with strawberries. Elizabeth is looking forward to hosting her German friends for a month in Lawrence this fall.Chehailis, an
Chehailis, an eighth-grader at Southwest Middle School, spent ten “amazing” days in Hiratsuka, Japan. Her group visited an aquarium, a Shinto temple, and an amusement park situated on the sixtieth floor of a building. She told about the crowds, music, and festival lanterns. What was most different? Well, they walked everywhere! And ate lots of fish. And had vegetables for breakfast. When her Japanese guests came to Lawrence last month, Chehailis took them to Pet World, to meet her friends, to play at Worlds of Fun, and to see the Basketball Hall of Fame at KU. They also sampled fry bread and saw bison at the Potawatomi Nation.