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ST. MARYS — A group of students visited a local service organization to tell members about their trip to an annual workshop.
Four St. Marys Memorial High School students attended the World Community Workshop last May — a workshop Rotary has put on since 1987.
“Each year, we sponsor four selected sophomores,” St. Marys Rotary President Linda Vogel told her fellow Rotarians during the students’ visit on Wednesday at the Eagles. “It is held at Defiance College in May every year.”
Vogel noted each workshop is based on a country’s theme.
“There is a pre-selected country they focus on — they have discussions on culture, customs, politics, things like that,” she said.
Then, Memorial High School Principal Dave Lewis introduced the four students, who will be juniors when school begins next week: Neil Perry, Brooke Hertenstein, Sarika Sivagnanam and Kevin Dammeyer.
“We studied Italy this year,” Perry said, noting he studied architecture in Italy. “We studied many ancient bridges.”
One of the projects his group did was make a model showcasing Italian architecture.
“We made a bridge out of popsicle sticks based on the Italian bridges,” Perry said, noting at the presentation at the end of the workshop, his group showed off their bridge.
Meeting people was a highlight of the workshop for Perry.
“We met a lot of good people,” he said, noting they have kept in contact. “In that short period of time, we made a lot of good friends there.”
Perry also thanked Rotary for sponsoring the students’ trip.
Making friends was also a highlight for Hertenstein, who was in a group that focused on the history of Italy.
“I met friends there, and I’m still in contact with them through Facebook and texting,” she said. “I’d encourage the next class to go. It was a fun time even though it was short.”
Sivagnanam said she studied Italian art.
“I’m really into art, so that was good for me,” she said.
Dammeyer said he was also in the history group and noted he studied Mussolini and World War II.
“We just hung out with really cool people,” he said. “I really appreciate you guys sending us there. It was a really good time.”
Lewis noted the students were selected because they were the top two male and the top two female students in the sophomore class.
“There were people there who had been to Italy and through that I really got inspired to get culturally aware with other parts of the world,” Perry noted of something he took away from the experience.
Dammeyer said it also helped the students by doing a lot of group work.
“We did a lot of learning how to work effectively, more than we were used to — everything was working in a group of eight or nine people and giving a presentation at the end,” he said.