Local family earns a presidential recognition award

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 9, 2023

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The Herman family of Wells has been recognized with the President’s Volunteer Service Award awarded by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. t recognizes the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity as well as those who positively impact their community and inspire those around them, according to a release.

This story started more than a year ago when John and Cindy Herman welcomed Maya Oberndoerfer from Germany and Carmen Patino Hernandez from Spain, two enthusiastic international exchange students, into their home for the school year. The program gives high school students from around the world an opportunity to come to the United States to experience the culture and values. At the same time, it gives American students an opportunity to welcome global citizens and experience a different culture and society. This program has brought diversity to the nation while building lasting friendships around the world for over 50 years.

The Herman family has welcomed the opportunity to re-introduce themselves to the life of a high school parent. With a large family of nine children themselves, grandchildren and great-grandchildren plus aging parents and business owners they managed to give both students an “American Year” to remember.

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“We started hosting in 1999 when seven of our nine kids were home in order to expose them to different cultures and broaden our view of the world,” the couple said in a statement. “Our family has hosted 10 students and we have learned so much from all of them. We have been very blessed to have good students that have fit into this family very well. It’s an experience that makes you view your world a little differently and gives you more vision to what this world could be like if we all got along and learned from each other.”

The exchange experience has allowed the two high schoolers to immerse themselves in American culture while sharing in both the classroom and home. Through exposure to new ideas, continued learning and building relationships, participants explore the world, experience diversity and gain valuable learning experiences that promote global citizenship.

To learn more about HSUSA life changing program and how you can get involved please contact Linda Suiter at lsuiter@highschoolintheusa.com or call (602) 690-7639.