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Three exchange students at Larned High School
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From left, Rolf Pier, of The Netherlands, Hanna Halvorsen, of Norway, and Virna Menezes, of Brazil, are exchange students this school year at Larned High School. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO


This year Larned High School graciously welcomes three exchange students: Hanna Halvorsen, Virna Menezes and Rolf Pier.

Hanna and her family live in the country near Oslo, Norway. So far, she says that she hasn’t had any difficulties adjusting to her new surroundings and that "Larned is a nice place." However, the greatest challenge the native Norwegian has faced is the extremely hot weather. In addition to attending her classes, she is also playing volleyball and will be participating in basketball this fall. Hanna looks forward to meeting new people, learning about culture in rural America, and making many unforgettable memories. Hanna’s host family is Dr. Trent and Julie Smith of Larned.

Following the steps of her brother, Yuri Menezes, Virna comes to Larned to see firsthand what he experienced. Virna, 15, lives in Fortalez, Brazil, a big city with amazing beaches, which is very different from Kansas farms and green scenery. Although she misses her family, friends and Brazil, Virna is already adjusting to Larned and thinks it is a "good city." She hopes that this experience will give her a better understanding of life itself. Virna’s host family, Rita Kurtz and Steve Nuckolls, was also Yuri’s host when he stayed in Larned.

The third exchange student, Rolf Pier, 17, is living on the farm with his host family, Jaime and Cindy Walker, which he says is very similar to his home near Groningen, Netherlands. He confessed that the major difference between Larned and Groningen is the distance between places. The other major distinction is the hot temperature. The Dutch native arrived during the 100-plus degree temperatures and felt that he was "melting away." He thinks he’s adapting well to the area and heat. He hopes that he will learn English and experience many new adventures. Currently, Rolf is playing football for the Indians.

To honor these exchange students, the International Club hosted a watermelon feed the first day of school, which provided an opportunity for the student body to meet and visit with them.