Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary clubs award Rotary Youth Exchange scholarships

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The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach and the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset have awarded Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) scholarships to a Ponte Vedra High School student and Nease High School student, respectively.

 Audrey Copeland of Ponte Vedra High School is using her scholarship from the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach to study this year in Italy. Grace Schneider of Nease High School is using her scholarship from the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset to study this year in Croatia.

Valued at more than $24,000, the RYE Scholarship is an in-kind scholarship that covers the cost of room, board, tuition and a monthly stipend for one academic year of high school studies abroad. Each year, more than 9,000 students worldwide between the ages of 15 and 18.5 years old receive a Rotary Youth Exchange scholarship.

Beginning last December, Copeland and Schneider began meeting with Rotarians and former exchange students for screening, training and sharing of cultural experiences. They were matched to inbound Rotary students and were involved in extensive language training and preparation to be immersed in their respective host cultures.

The Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach also awarded scholarships to three inbound foreign exchange students from Sweden, Poland and Slovakia. These students arrived in August and will spend the 2017-2018 academic school year studying at a local high school.

Additionally, the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset awarded scholarships to two inbound foreign exchange students from Turkey and Croatia. These students also arrived in August and will spend the 2017-2018 academic school year studying at a local high school.

 The Rotary Youth Exchange Program began in the 1920s, and its primary mission is to work toward peace and understanding in the world. Approved by the U.S. Department of State, Rotary Youth Exchange is a member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), a nonprofit organization committed to setting standards for international educational travel and monitoring compliance with those standards. 

The Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship program in Florida is growing through the efforts of local Rotary clubs and the multi-district organization, Rotary Youth Exchange Florida, Inc. (RYE FL). Each of the eight Rotary Districts in the Sunshine State are committed to promoting Rotary Youth Exchange, and at least half of these districts have been honored with Rotary District Achievement Awards at the annual conferences of the North American Youth Exchange Network. Currently, RYE FL has exchange agreements with more than 35 countries and has an annual exchange ratio of 1:1, resulting in more than 70 American students from the State of Florida participating.

RYE 2018-2019 scholarships

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018-2019 academic year scholarship. In addition, the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach, the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach Sunset and Rotary Youth Exchange Florida are seeking potential host families for the 2018-2019 academic year. The host family is responsible for providing room and board for the inbound exchange student for approximately three months, and is a vital part of the exchange program experience.

 Both Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary clubs have a dynamic membership of men and women actively dedicated to fostering service above self in the community and around the globe and are part of Rotary International District 6970.

For more information about becoming a Rotarian, being a host family or recommending an American high school student for the Rotary Youth Exchange Study Abroad Scholarship, contact Jeff Hart, RYE chairman of Rotary District 6970 at jeff@ryeflorida.org or (904) 517-3493.

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