Thank you village of Anna


By Charlotte Caldwell
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ANNA — Lizi Nebieridze — a junior at Anna High School and an exchange student from the country of Georgia — recently completed her third leadership project of repainting the stepping stones at Anna Park for the placement organization that brought her to the U.S.

The organization, ASSE and World Heritage, requires three leadership projects and a minimum of 50 hours of volunteering. The theme of the third leadership project was to organize a community service project.

Her host mom asked for ideas on the Anna Facebook page and someone mentioned the stepping stones at the park needing redone. It took Nebieridze 35 hours to complete the project with the help of her host dad and other volunteers, bringing her total volunteer hours in the U.S. to 152.

The theme of the first project was to spend time with a leader of the community, and Nebieridze spent time with Anna Police Chief Darrin Goudy and another police officer.

“I learned how they work and got a lot of good advice about how to be a good leader,” Nebieridze said.

For her second project, Nebieridze had to interview another international person or group living in the U.S. She interviewed a friend of her host mom’s from Puerto Rico.

“This was a really interesting project as it helped me appreciate the cultural differences and values between different nationalities,” Nebieridze said.

Nebieridze also worked for the Shelby County Historical Society and Do Good Ministry for volunteer hours. On Jan. 31, she gave a presentation on the country of Georgia to a crowd at the historical society.

“As we all know ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ meaning that being a scholarship exchange student you have many responsibilities to do while living in your host community,” Nebieridze said of her volunteer hours completed.

With so many volunteer hours, Nebieridze was chosen to go to a California conference with other exchange students. She described the conference as, “one of the best parts of my exchange year.”

“First I made new friends from seven other countries, then I met a lot of representatives and coordinators, who helped thousands of kids to settle and have the best exchange year experience, then I was able to share my experiences with all those people and lastly spend the best time with the good weather and beautiful views with palms of California. I was able to meet some people from American Councils too,” Nebieridze said.

“Another interesting part of the conference was that before the last day of departure, we had a talent show and each of the exchange students showed their talent. I decided to dance the Georgian National Dance. It was so nice to share my culture with that audience. I loved every part of that conference. I want to thank again my placement organization ASSE for choosing me from my country to represent my country and allowing me to be part of that amazing meeting with amazing people. Their effort, love, and support are so inspirational for me and make me grateful to be called an exchange student,” Nebieridze said.

She also took a trip to Washington, D.C. and shared one of her favorite quotes: “E pluribus unum,” a Latin phrase that means “Out of many, one.” While there, she reunited with her Georgian friends and met people from 21 countries.

“The most interesting part was the legend about Jefferson’s statue, that he loved democracy so much that his monument can’t help but watch over the White House making sure freedom and happiness endure,” Nebieridze said.

Her host family will soon take her on a surprise trip.

“I’m willing to wait for that day and so excited because I know my host family would never bring me to a place that I wouldn’t like and it doesn’t even matter where we are, we always find a way to have fun and laugh together,” Nebieridze said.

Nebieridze was also an Oompa-Loompa in Anna’s rendition of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, of which she said, “I would never imagine that I would be an Oompa-Loompa in my life when you never know what’s going to happen when you live in America as an exchange student.”

As her time in the U.S. is coming to an end, she said, “I’m excited and sad at the same time. I miss my family and home but it feels like I’m going to leave my home to go to another home. I think I have to thank my host family for creating a second home in the USA for me. I’m grateful to my Anna Rockets community, school, and friends. Thanks to all for being nice, supportive, and open to me.”

“Being an exchange student is a lifetime experience. I’m proud of being called an exchange student and lucky to be part of Anna Rockets. I’ll wait for you all to visit me one day to be your host, and tell you more about Georgia, the country, not the state!” Nebieridze concluded.

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