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B'ville teen lands in Japan

Baker graduate Sandy Evans is headed back to high school -- as a student in Japan.

The 17-year-old was this year's only Baldwinsville resident chosen to participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program for District 7150, which is sending more than 30 students abroad this year. An early graduate of Baker (Sandy was one of four juniors who doubled up last year to graduate early), she will attend Matto Senior High School in Japan. While Sandy doesn't speak Japanese fluently and admits it is extremely difficult to learn, she does have a tutor and a Rosetta Stone to help her understand the language of her new home.

Sandy's mom, Kathy, described her daughter as "a very adventuresome young woman who is eager to learn about the world."

"We are so pleased that Sandy was chosen by Rotary for the Youth Exchange program," Kathy said. "The application/interview process was rigorous and we are honored that she was chosen to serve as a student ambassador for the United States through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. We think Sandy will learn and grow in so many ways from this experience."

While mom will miss one-on-one conversations with her daughter, Kathy said that the family, which also includes Sandy's dad, Jim and her brother, Luke, will keep in touch with Sandy through e-mail and hope to visit her next spring in Japan.

Before her departure on Friday Aug. 21, the Messenger was able to catch up with Sandy to question her about her unique opportunity.

How did you become involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange program?

Two years ago, my cousin was a foreign exchange student with Youth for Understanding to Uruguay and she told me what a great experience it was, so I decided to look into it. After a fair amount of research, it seemed that not only was Rotary the most affordable program, but it was also clearly the most reputable.

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