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Belgium 

Francoise Lange 1977-78

O-High yearbook  1978

I spent an unforgettable year in Oberlin High that seems like a day because it was vacation instead of painful time of works and studies. In fact, my own desire was to lice like an American -- at least for this year -- by meeting people, sharing my European experience. This, naturally, required me a long time and patience for the first months. The most important problem was my "poor" English that created an obstacle between the students and me. But it was quickly resolved when you can find some students who can try to understand you -- keeping a big smile -- such as Mike Schwartz, Jim McMillian, or Beth Bruno, my dear A.F.S. sister.

Another thing was that after spending seven years in a boarding school, wearing a uniform and surrounded by a bunch of girls, I found a "big" change in culture, discipline and education. In Oberlin High I was not only mixed with boys but also with black students with whom I had my first contact. I profit of this chance to speak with them and make some friends among them: Tracy Haynes always excited by sporting events, Kim Hall, Jackie West, Donna Murphy who I worked with for the play LI'L ABNER.

And in the school where everybody knew each other, I had to introduce myself and find some friends. I quickly learned that even if everybody was really nice with me -- especially Peggy and Sarah Elder, my host sisters -- I had to do the first step. Then to make my self more comfortable, I decided to be a member of some school

O-High yearbook  1978
 activities. I joined the tennis team and played exhibition with Mary Carig. We really has a good time even if we didn't always win. I was involved in the drama club, too. I'll always remember how much I was nervous before my first performance: "Smile." I was afraid the audience would laugh at my accent but Miss Powell tried to make me feel better by telling me it was so cute. But the most memorable event was LI'L AABNER. even  if sometimes the rehearsals were tiring or too long, we all were thanked by the success of the show. this spring, I went out for track. I was really impressed by myself because I didn't know I could be as good as I was. But I still spent a lot of time sitting on the bench when I hurt my leg and after my foot.

I don't want forget to speak about my classes and thanks to my teachers: Mr. Randall who had hard times to try  to make me read my books; Mr. Donovan who couldn't keep me quiet or then had to wake me up -- it was last period --; Mr. Bowers who I think enjoyed my accent so much he asked me to give him some particular lessons; Mrs. Reeder with whom I really learned a lot about music and improved myself; Mrs. Schoonmaker who initiated me to biology. If this year is over yet, it'll never be forgotten and all you made it more enjoyable. I don't want to end without writing these last words to Peggy Elder who was not a friend but a sister who could speak with me, understand me, listen to me  and help me, and to Erik Andrews who was more than a friend -- we could share our difficulties as our joys and we learn to know each other so well.

Updated 6 November 06
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