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The Aussies, or rather the Australian Student Delegation, were back at Mesa from Hoppers Crossing Secondary College in Wyndham, Victoria, Australia.
ASB and the rest of the student body and administration welcomed the eight students onto campus as they arrived around 7:15 AM. The Aussies had a big day ahead of them as they were greeted by their “tour guides” at the front gate.
A handful of ASB students were picked to pair up with an Australian student (a few of the Australians had two-three ASB students) who would guide them around school. Mrs. Scott, the activities director, wanted the Australian students to see the “interesting” classes Mesa has to offer.
Scott gave the “low down” of how the day was going to run and she essentially wanted the Australian students to “compare and contrast” the differences between Estancia High School and Costa Mesa High School. She gave a short run through of what ASB is, how it runs, what they do, and how everyone is elected and appointed to the position they have.
The morning welcoming meeting was full of introductions from both the ASB and the delegate students. The students ranged from ages 16-17 and were either in their junior or senior year. Seniors included Brooke Gathercole, Kellie Morris, and Jordan Hamilton; and the juniors were Kallie Dineen, Kahlia Blake, Bailey Flint, Zoe Sidwell and Zarko Vojinovic.
While Scott asked each student to share something they enjoyed about being in the states so far, most referred to the amusement parks they have had the opportunity to visit like Disneyland, California Adventure, and Universal Studios. Kallie stated she highly enjoyed just getting to know everyone she had come across. While Kahlia can’t forget Cars Land in California Adventure, Bailey loved Tower of Terror also in California Adventure. Both Kellie and Zoe remember the fun they had at Universal Studios, especially the Jurassic Park ride. Brooke just thought the whole trip was amazing. And lastly, Jordan honestly stated he is simply easily amused.
Mrs. Caitlin White and Mr. Mark Pino were the teachers accompanying the students. White is a science and P.E. teacher, she is also the main administrator for the program at their school. Pino is a health teacher and also a P.E. teacher. Both White and Pino appreciated the “sporting culture” the schools in America share; especially while at the Basketball Battle of the Bell game last week, (that all Australian delegate students and the two teachers attended) where an example of school spirit was shown. They explained how at their school students don’t sign up for sports. Very few sports are offered at the school and most students participate in sports outside of the school. They both agreed that it was among the many great things for the students to witness while here.
Senior Jordan Hamilton expressed how this trip was a “life changing experience” for him. “Not every day is it that you can live the life of an American. It gave me a great sense of cultural awareness.”
They have stopped a number of schools including Victoria Elementary School, Tewinkle Middle School, Newport Harbor High School, and finally Costa Mesa High School.
One of Jordan’s favorite things to do was to go Huntington Beach and eat at Ruby’s at the end of the pier. He was also incredibly excited to meet back up with the Estancia students who traveled to Australia previously.
Senior Brooke Gathercole and junior Kallie Dineen shared similar feelings when they stated, “Being able to see all the attractions we hear about when we’re little and growing up and then actually seeing them was a lot of fun. We not only got close with the people we met throughout the trip, but with the delegation as well. We gain life-long friendships with these people. The assistant principal at Estancia said that we’re the closest he has seen the students ever be with each other. We all learn to get closer.”
The delegation will end their trip by taking a few days to relax with their host families, going to Estancia’s rally this Thursday, and finally attending Estancia’s winter formal on Friday. They all fly back on Sunday. Brooke and Kallie also mentioned how it is a very “nostalgic” and “surreal” feeling for them to already be getting ready to go back. But all in all, it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience.