Caleb set to dis­cover Den­mark

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PET­RICE TARRANT

Caleb Stevens is about to em­bark on an 11- month ad­ven­ture in Den­mark thanks to sup­port from the Toko­roa com­mu­nity.

The 15- year- old For­est View High School stu­dent will hop on a plane tomorrow for his AFS stu­dent ex­change af­ter five months of fundrais­ing and a few hours pack­ing.

But it has been no small task rais­ing the $14,000 fee.

Caleb’s mother Lyn-Marie Stevens said the sup­port from Toko­roa res­i­dents had been phe­nom­e­nal.

Through sausage siz­zles, garage sales, raf­fles, crane rides, in­di­vid­ual do­na­tions and busi­ness spon­sor­ship the com­mu­nity had con­trib­uted about $7000, she said.

Another $3000 came from AFS cen­tral Plateau co-or­di­na­tor Ray­lene Som­merville.

The for­mer board chair­per­son of AFS New Zealand was one of three peo­ple in­ter­na­tion­ally awarded the Stephen Galatti award for her 30 years vol­un­teer ser­vice. With the award came a $3000 schol­ar­ship to be dis­trib­uted to AFS stu­dents in her area.

‘‘It’s re­ally cool to see some­one go­ing and be­ing able to con­trib­ute fund­ing to that.’’

She said she was stoked Caleb put his hand up, oth­er­wise the money would have be spent out of the dis­trict.

Caleb chose Den­mark over nine other pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions with­out know­ing his fam­ily ties to the Euro­pean na­tion.

Af­ter search­ing an old fam­ily tree, Ms Stevens re­alised Caleb’s AFS fam­ily is just 50 kilo­me­tres from the home of her great­grand­fa­ther.

Caleb will study at the IBC Busi­ness High School, an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge for a teen who knows lim­ited Dan­ish.

Caleb would like to thank his ma­jor spon­sors Todd McPhee Crane Hire, Toko­roa Sports World, Toko­roa New World, Toko­roa Auto Elec­tri­cal and oth­ers who have con­trib­uted in­clud­ing Toko­roa Blue­light, Hol­ster Engineering, Cre­ative Vi­sion, The Li­ons Club of Toko­roa City Inc and Li­ons Club of Toko­roa Dis­trict.

Photo: PET­RICE TARRANT

Light trav­eller: Caleb Stevens is gear­ing up for an 11-month AFS ex­change with help from co-or­di­na­tor Ray­lene Som­merville.

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