“The students prepared, very well mind you, four presentations
that they gave to several grade school classes, my classes, and high
school computer teacher Sheila Myers invited them into her room,
too. They shared information about Spanish sports, food, festivals
and holidays, and their own school,” said Grunder.
It’s also worth mentioning that Grunder noted, “the students with
whom we are doing the exchange are English students in Ana's
classes.” Ana and Isabel are the two teachers who traveled to the
United States with the thirteen students. Ana stayed with the
Grunder family in Lincoln, while Isabel was hosted by Marty Ahrends
The students from Spain, by the way, knew their English quite well.
Grunder explained, “The Spaniards do not get any kind of official
credit for the exchange, nor do ours.
"The exchange is designed and organized by us teachers. Joe
Scanavino of Sangamon Valley High School participated in this
exchange last September/June, and he coordinated the communication
between Ana and me to organize our exchange every-other-year with
"The Spaniards' administration does require them to write summaries
of what they did and post them to their school website. Other than
that, they are responsible for the work they missed back
home...lucky us...we go on our summer break!”
There are a couple more things to note before getting to the final
farewell dinner the group shared. Grunder said of the many
adventures the group took, “Every bus ride included singing.”
The Spaniards love music and it is a way for them to learn the
English language. “Learning English through our pop music is HUGE
anywhere and Spain is clearly no exception! Impressive, indeed,”
said the beloved MPHS Spanish teacher.
[to top of second column]
“You would've really enjoyed a moment on the bus coming home from St. Louis.
They were doing an Adele show.....and, not only do they know the words, this
group had beautiful voices. BUT, they just weren't nailing "Hello" the way it's
supposed to be sung, in my humble opinion. I was sitting up front with the other
adult chaperones...well, okay, I was trying to sleep...when I just couldn't take
the sweet, pretty version of the chorus. So, I popped up and belted out:
HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE! I MUST'VE CALLED A THOUSAND TIIIIIIIIMES!
I am a terrible singer...terrible! But, they caught on. And, instead of
singing the chorus ever so sweetly the next time around, they screeched it just
like me, well, you know, just like Adele!”
Steve Hayes also couldn’t believe his ears when he recalled driving the family
around and hearing this amazing voice from the back seat singing along
beautifully, word for word, with every song on the radio. It was Karla. Steve
was blown away by the fact that she knew every word to every song. Grunder
reiterated, “Steve is right on. This group, especially the girls, and well, Ana,
too, knew every word of every song.”
The bus driver who got to hear those beautiful voices, by the way, deserves
special mention. Gene Schoth, who is the dad in the family that shared hosting
duties of one of the Maria’s, drove the students around and Grunder had nothing
but praise for this man. He got everybody at the right place, at the right time
and on time, she emphasized. His excellent transportation skills were a key
factor in making the trips all the more pleasurable.