Clairbourn students and families have spent the last ten days welcoming our friends from the Huntingtower School in Melbourne, Australia. We brought them into our homes, our school, and our community.This delightful school exchange began in 2000 as an idea celebrating the 2001-2002 75th anniversary of the founding of both Christian Science heritage schools. Clairbourn’s Headmaster Dr. Robert Nafie and Huntingtower’s Principal Mr. Sholto Bowen agreed to initiate a family-based school exchange beginning in 2002.Ever since, the schools have alternated years sending about 20 students each time.Now in 2014, more than 250 students and teachers have participated in the program.
On the surface, the students who come from Huntingtower find many differences between our cultures. For instance, they are amazed at the differences in animals. Our students have never seen kangaroos in the wild, and their students have never seen squirrels. Additionally, both sets of students see differences in clothing, accents, expressions and idioms, cars, music, houses, sports, and of course, traffic. Los Angeles has many iconic sites to see including, Santa Monica, Disneyland, Huntington Beach, Griffith Park, Universal Studios, and Hollywood, just to name a few.
On a deeper level, however, these same students see many similarities and come to realize that the world is a much smaller place than they might have imagined. This is the true exchange.
Melbourne, Australia is 7000 miles from Los Angeles, and yet, when conversation settles down to an individual level, the students are overwhelmed with how much we all enjoy the same things. We have the same values. We love freedom. We believe in honesty and transparency. We share the same essential language. Our nations have joined together in fighting hunger, poverty, tyranny, terrorism, and oppression. We share a common bond of friendship that has been relayed down the years from one Huntingtower class to the next and from one Clairbourn class to the next. We share an outlook of Goodwill that has its basis in the Golden Rule and found in the teachings of Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy.
The 2014 Huntingtower/Clairbourn student exchange has concluded, but the friendships and the true exchange of ideas and goodwill will last a lifetime. Thank you Clairbourn families for embracing these young people from Down Under!
Robert W. Nafie, Ph. D.
Head of School
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