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St. Johns Brazilian cant wait for snow
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Several foreign countries are represented by 15 high school students who visited Great Bend Saturday. The visitors were escorted by Jenny Shelton, the area representative for International Student Exchange program. Shelton escorts the youngsters once a month to explore area communities. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

Bri Nicario Gomes from Brazil will probably host a talk show some day. She’s made a quick transition from Brazil to St. John High School, where she was selected as football homecoming queen.
“I didn’t hardly expect it — to be homecoming queen,” she said. “It was really fun.”
She has a friendly personality, which the St. John community has embraced. Nicario Gomes competed in volleyball, which she has played; and is a St. John High School junior varsity player in basketball, which she had never played.
“I’ve never played basketball, but I’m having a lot of fun,” she said. “This is my first time ever seeing basketball. Our boys basketball team is really good. I get to sit on the team bus by coach Clint Kinnamon, who is one of my friends. Going to the basketball games is a lot of fun. But I am friends with everybody. That’s just I way I am.”
In Brazil, teenagers don’t earn driving privileges until they are 18 years old.
“The most fun is cruising around because that’s something I don’t do in Brazil. I don’t drive in Brazil,” she said. “But we stay out later in Brazil.”
Nicario Gomez is a shining example of the 15 high school students who toured Great Bend Saturday. They are some of the brightest and best ambassadors their countries feature.
The prospect of winter weather was a hot topic on conversation for the 15 visitors who toured Great Bend Saturday. The visitors picked a good day to try out the downtown skating rink at Jack Kilby Square. Snow was forecast Sunday, and some of the foreign exchange students from warm-weather countries had never seen snow.
“I’m so excited. I’ve never seen snow in my life,” Nicario Gomes said. “We’ve already talked about making a snowman.”
Most hadn’t tried ice skating either, although Matus Kopunec from Slovakia moved like an expert skater. Kopunec said there are many outdoor lakes in Skovakia where skating is popular, in addition to many indoor skating facilities.
Lapo Corsi from Italy is attending Otis-Bison High School, which qualified for the eight-man playoffs. Corsi is much more familiar with soccer, which is his country’s most popular sport. Corsi is staying with David and Michelle Oborny from Rush Center.  
“I had never seen football before,” Corsi said. “I didn’t know the game. It was hard to keep up with.”
The visitors were escorted by Jenny Shelton, the area representative for International Student Exchange program. Shelton escorts the youngsters once a month to explore area communities for different experiences. She said it’s beneficial to get together monthly, exchange experiences and create new ones.
They visited Santa’s Around the World, enjoyed an afternoon indoor swim and ended the day at a Rush Center farm for a hot dog roast and bonfire. they were scjeduled to return to Great Bend for a tour of the Trail of Lights.
Others who toured Great Bend with their high schools:
Linda Balcarova, Slovakia (Wilson); Jules Caudoudal, France (Wilson); David Figueiredo De Miranda, Brazil (LaCrosse); Allegra Giacomelli, Italy (Concordia); Matus Kopunec, Slovakia (Concordia); Kitty Petrikova, Slovakia (Wilson); Aimes Poomsawat, Thailand (Beloit); Yike Ren, China (Dodge City); Rita Sarmiento, Mexico (Ellsworth); Mela Torres Sanchez, Ecuador (Beloit); Triet Vu, Vietnam (Pratt); Loc Pham, Vietnam (Greensburg); David Prichystal, Czech Republic (Otis-Bison); and Marina Friedel, Germany (Hays High).