It won’t be long until Indian Lake High School student Spencer Wolf will be living worlds away. As a junior during the 2016-17 school year, Wolf will be part of the Rotary International Exchange Student Program in Germany.
He spoke to the Bellefontaine Rotary Club recently on the heels of attending the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Weekend with five other area students at YMCA Camp Kern near Lebanon, Ohio. The RYLA weekend challenges students to meet new people, enhance their communication skills and build leadership qualities. All attributes that Wolf hopes will increase exponentially when he lives abroad.
“I was inspired during a Rotary Leadership conference last fall when I heard a local speaker-Belletech’s Rick Nelson— speak about his experience as an exchange student. I approached him after the conference and decided to stick with the idea,” he said.
When he mentioned the exchange program to his parents, Wolf said, they assumed it was “just a phase.” But now the reality of their only child leaving for a whole year is nearly upon them. Spencer recently received information confirming that he will be located in Wolfsburg, Germany, which is in the center of the country. He will live with two different families during the school year, but attend the same high school, called Ratsgymnasium.
“What are the chances of that? I’m currently a Lake Rat at Indian Lake High School and I’m going to go to Ratsgymnasium (school). Plus I’m a Wolf and I’ll live in Wolfsburg!”
Spencer will depart in late July 2016 and spend all of his junior year in Germany. He will come back in July 2017. During this time he will take high school courses similar to those he would be required to complete at home. He will also get to travel with other exchange students all across Europe.
Indian Lake High School Principal Rob Underwood says a search of student records indicates Wolf is the first Indian Lake High School student ever to embark on this kind of 11-month educational experience.
“Although we will miss Spencer tremendously at ILHS over the next year, we are excited for him to begin this extraordinary opportunity. Spencer is a caring, out-going, and intelligent young man who will be an excellent international ambassador for the Indian Lake community, Logan County, and the American way of life.”
Bellefontaine Rotary Club member Sally Stolly has hosted many exchange students over the years and she helped Wolf get involved in the Rotary International program. Stolly is excited for the club to sponsor a student abroad.
“It is an honor for the Bellefontaine Rotary Club to receive inbound students and to send outbound students abroad. Promoting world peace, advancing international understanding, and sharing goodwill with Rotary Clubs around the world is an amazing opportunity for Rotarians and exchange students,” she said. “It is a joy for me to place our exchange students with caring host families who are willing to share everyday American life experiences and are open to experience the culture of another country.”
Wolf has already created a blog to keep a running diary of his feelings and experiences to share with his fellow students back at Indian Lake and with local Rotary Club members. It can be accessed at https://bretzelnundscharaden.wordpress.com/ or on the Indian Lake High School website at hs.ils-k12.org.
In preparation for his time in Germany, Spencer is completing one language course online and will begin more rigorous instruction soon. He says, of course he will miss his family and his friends at school, especially those in the Indian Lake Marching Band. But so far, Wolf says he’s not nervous about becoming a student with so many stamps on his passport.
“Maybe it’s hiding inside of me somewhere (the nervousness). I’m just ready for an exciting adventure.”
Indian Lake High School student Spencer Wolf speaks to the Bellefontaine Rotary Club. He will travel to Germany as part of the Rotary International Student Exchange program in July.
Submitted by Indian Lake Local Schools.