Arizona Republic
June 17, 2006


Author: Corinne Purtill and Amanda Anderson, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 3

One's an anime fan heading to Japan. One will explore the castles of Prague.
Another plans to check out Italy's beaches.

Amanda Peterson, Mark Fletcher and James Edmunds, all students at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee Foothills, are among 31 high school juniors who will serve as youth ambassadors and travel to Phoenix's 10 sister cities.

The Youth Ambassador Exchange Program, sponsored by Phoenix Sister Cities, allows young people from around the world to learn about and experience each other's cultures. The program considers projects such as this to be important tools to help build bridges of understanding and international goodwill. The participating families create friendships and memories that often last a lifetime.

High school juniors are selected on the basis of their communication skills, maturity, flexibility, leadership and self-confidence. The students'
departures run from June 17 to 29. They will live with a host family in their designated city for three weeks, then reciprocate and house their host family's son or daughter in July.

What the students lack in language skills they make up for in enthusiasm.

"I can say ciao. That's about it," said Peterson, 17, who is going to the Sicilian city of Catania, Italy.

The ideal student ambassadors are outgoing and open to new experiences, said Misty Cisneros, a program manager for Phoenix Sister Cities. Selections were announced in March.

The students chosen "are very well-rounded students who have a good knowledge of Phoenix, the U.S. and the American lifestyle," Cisneros said.
"We thought they'd be a good representation of the typical American teenager."

Fletcher, 17, a member of Desert Vista's volleyball team who dabbles in break dance, just e-mailed the teenage son of his host family to introduce himself. His trip to Prague, Czech Republic, will be his only voyage outside the country besides a family vacation to London when he was 10. He is ready to roll.

"I'm stoked," he said.

Himeji, Japan, was the first choice for James Edmunds, who is a fan of Japanese animated cartoons, or anime. The 16-year-old is a member of Desert Vista's anime club and is eager to go to the source.

"I really wanted to experience it firsthand," he said.

Peterson's first passport arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. She has it tacked onto a bulletin board at home and is saving money for shopping trips in Italy.

A member of Desert Vista's student council, she helped to plan the school prom this year. She's also in charge of organizing a miniprom in the fall for the youth ambassadors and their exchange students.

Others teen ambassadors selected are:

* Calgary, Canada: Destiny Huynh, Phoenix Country Day School, and Stephanie Bacher, Shadow Mountain High School.

* Catania, Italy: Elizabeth MacDonnell, Xavier College Preparatory.

* Chengdu, China: Ashley Susan, Moon Valley High School; Carlos Hernandez, Washington High School; Emma Frick, Notre Dame Preparatory; and Manuel Gomez, North High School.

* Ennis, Ireland: Adam Bloch, Chaparral High School; Alana Caron, North High School; Alyssa Hitt, 91st Psalm Christian High School; and Meagan Hawk, Phoenix Christian High School.

* Grenoble, France: Lauren Frome, Sunnyslope High School, and Mathew Cowlin, Phoenix Country Day School.

* Hermosillo, Mexico: Alex Rose-Quillard, North Canyon High School, and Christina Olsen, Arizona School for the Arts.

* Himeji, Japan: Amanda Martiny, Xavier College Preparatory; Celeste Irvin, Cesar Chavez High School; John Sours, Brophy College Preparatory; Nicole Sowby, Central High School; Nina Ulloa, North High School; and Ryne Barry, Thunderbird High School

* Prague, Czech Republic: Kimberly Delnoce, Arcadia High School.

* Ramat-Gan, Israel: Amyann Freberg, Arizona School for the Arts, and Heather Price-Wright, North High School.

* Taipei, Taiwan: Catherine Kessler, Arcadia High School; Christina Dugan, Xavier College Preparatory; Katherine Moodey, North High School; and Stacey Wilkinson, Veritas Preparatory.

Since the exchange program began in 1988, approximately 400 students have participated. If you want your teenager to be a youth ambassador next year, visit or call (602) 534-3751.

CAPTION: Desert Vista High School students (from left) James Edmunds (Japan), Amanda Peterson (Italy) and Mark Fletcher (Czech Republic) will represent Phoenix this summer.
Edition: Final
Section: Phoenix Community North
Page: 3

Index Terms: JUVENILE
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Record Number: pho137407671