A stay at Kennedy

Exchange students at Kennedy will go back to their home countries in June


Roberta Prats speaks to Rotary members on Feb. 26.

“Kennedy High School takes part in foreign student exchange to provide opportunity to students of other countries,” said Robert Johnson, associate principal.

Kennedy High School partners with Rotary, Forte, Larasian, YFU, ISE, PAX, IRIS and Education First to help provide opportunities to students of the world.

A student must apply to one of these organizations to transfer. Then, the organization will either accept or decline the application.

“These organizations look for the best fit students to transfer, and, here at Kennedy, we provide them with equal opportunity, just as any other student,” said Johnson.

To exchange, a student must apply to an organization– like Rotary. This is how Roberta Tortosa Prats transferred to Kennedy this year from Serra De Mariola, a high school in Valencia, Spain. She said she “very much enjoys” Kennedy since it’s easier and there are more activities available.

This year Prats played Cougar volleyball, basketball and tennis. However, in Spain, she only participated in ballet because, in Spain, Prats explains that high schools do not provide sports. Joining a club is the only way to participate in a sport.

Also, Prats said Spanish high school students have no choice over what classes they may take and students must remain with the same classmates the whole school day. Additionally, there are strictly no school dances.

Throughout Prats’ stay in America, she has lived with three different host families, volunteers who will provide for a student’s needs during the exchange. Every three to four months, Prats switches host families; this makes her sad, yet happy, because she leaves one host family but joins another.

Conrado Chozas Martinez, another exchange student at Kennedy, experienced much of the same. Like Prats, he transferred from Spain but attended Escolapios High School. He chose to transfer to improve his golfing skills and to learn better English, but this year noticed that what he values most is the quality relationships he’s established.

He will be sad to leave Kennedy, but sincerely misses his “real” parents and his family back at home in Madrid. Nonetheless, Martinez plans to return to America and he hopes to receive a golf scholarship to do so.

Martinez explained how exchanges opens opportunity for students to learn a new language, a different culture and to create relationships around the world. “I’m truly blessed that I was gifted this wonderful experience.”