Grace is bound for Bordeaux

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Si­mon Rup­pert

FCJ Col­lege stu­dent Grace Mor­ri­son is headed to Bordeaux next year as part of Be­nalla Ro­tary Club’s stu­dent ex­change pro­gram.

Last week Grace met Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan, who pre­sented her with an Aus­tralian flag to take to France.

Grace said she got in­volved in the pro­gram through her grand­par­ents who are mem­bers of Ro­tary and have been in­volved in or­gan­is­ing past ex­changes.

‘‘My grand­par­ents are part of Ro­tary and I learnt about it through them. When it was of­fered to me I thought said.

‘‘It in­volves be­ing an am­bas­sador for our town and just learn­ing and be­ing a stu­dent over there, so it’s a stu­dent ex­change, not a hol­i­day.

‘‘I will be in France for the whole year. I’ve been study­ing French. I’ve done a lit­tle bit at school and at home with my grandma, who speaks French.

‘‘I’ve never been to France be­fore. I’m ex­cited. I’m look­ing for­ward to learn­ing more about France and be­com­ing part of a new com­mu­nity and learn­ing all about their his­tory.’’

Ms Ryan said Ro­tary had done an amaz­ing job over ‘I’ll do it’,’’ Grace the years in send­ing our young peo­ple to dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

‘‘I think it builds a rela- tion­ship between key coun­tries, coun­tries that are im­por­tant to Aus­tralia,’’ she said.

‘‘Peo­ple like Grace will be the lead­ers of our com­mu­nity in years to come, so it’s im­por­tant that they have the op­por­tu­nity to broaden their knowl­edge.

‘‘Ro­tary’s done a great job of that. We’ve had a num­ber of stu­dents from the lo­cal com­mu­nity who have had the op­por­tu­nity to do year-long ex­changes in year 9 and year 10 and we’ve also been able to host stu­dents as well. So I think its a long-term strate­gic re­la­tion­ship but it also, of course, has great ben­e­fits for the stu­dents.’’

Ro­tary chair­man Bruce McIn­tyre said the pro­gram was launched in this Ro­tary district in 1958 and had since been adopted in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘‘Our first stu­dent ex­change was in the early ’60s and we’ve prob­a­bly had 45 kids from the Be­nalla area go out over that pe­riod of time,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a cul­tural and am­bas­sado­rial ex­change. All the feed­back we get is ex­ceed­ingly pos­i­tive as we make sure the kids are well pre­pared.’’

Grace is look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing Be­nalla in France.

‘‘The mes­sage I hope to leave is that it’s a great, close-knit com­mu­nity where everyone helps each other out,’’ she said.

Ex­change: Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan presents an Aus­tralian flag to Grace Mor­ri­son.

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