A Cougar from 4,000 miles away


Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Button

Brooklyn Button (jr.), with siblings in Wassenaar, Netherlands

Junior Brooklyn Button always thought she was going to be a Kennedy Cougar, even after living over 4,000 miles away from Cedar Rapids.

Button left Iowa due to her father’s career, and moved to Wassenaar, Netherlands in 2012.

“I had mixed emotions about moving there,” Button said, “I was excited for the adventure, but at the same time I was sad to leave my home, friends, and the community here.”

Button and her family lived in the Netherlands for four years, where she attended the American-International School of The Hague.

“The American School of the Hague’s student body represented over 70 nationalities. Students spoke English in the classroom, but when I stepped into the hallway I heard native tongue languages from all over the world,” Button said.

At the American International School of The Hague, each grade consisted of about 80 students with class sizes of 15.

“When I first went there, I felt like I was going back in time,” Button said.

There were many canals and the streets were made of cobblestone.

Life in the Netherlands was very much different than the average life here in Iowa.

“Everyone rides their bikes, everywhere. Because the driving age is 18, high school students would bike to school,” Button said.

Rather than going to one store to buy groceries like we do in Iowa, food was sold in individual shops along the streets.

“We would go to one shop to get our bread, one shop to get our cheese, and one shop to get our hardware, etc.,” Button said.

The Button family also added a new member while in the Netherlands – a Dutch puppy named Harley.

“Dogs went everywhere with their owners, even into restaurants,” Button said.

Button moved back to Iowa at the beginning of the school year, allowing her to start her junior year at Kennedy. She was able to reconnect with friends she kept in touch with while she was away, thanks to social-media.

“I was worried at first about how I would fit in here at Kennedy, but I had a great start to the school year. I was able to meet many wonderful and kind people through cross-country this past fall,” Button said.

Button noticed that in the Netherlands, school meant focusing more on education and less on sports.

“It was refreshing coming to Kennedy this year and seeing the tight-knit atmosphere of the sports teams,” Button said.

While moving to a different continent in middle school was a new challenge,  Button felt that it was a rewarding experience.

“Living in the Netherlands was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Button said. “It has given me a different perspective on diversity, as a collection of unique ideas based on different backgrounds.”