Breaking the ICE with exchange students


Last year’s exchange and MHS students with former and current ICE Club Presidents Jacob Vogelgesang and Megan Vogelgesang.

International Cultural Exchange Club has been taking care of exchange students at Medina High School ever since it was founded many years ago by a student from Medina who went on an exchange year to New Zealand.

The main purpose of the club is to make sure that exchange students enjoy their time at Medina High School, but the cultural exchange between the MHS students and the visiting students has become a big part of ICE Club. During the meetings, the club members discuss cultural differences and similarities between different parts of the world.

Medina High School guidance counselor Mrs. Dorene Shirey helped the club to get back on its feet last school year. This year, Spanish teacher Mrs. Sharon Schorr took over the role as adviser for the club. It was the thought about how much we can learn from each other and other countries that inspired her to become the adviser.

“I think there is so much that we need to learn from each other. I think the world right now is a miserable place and the only thing that will make it better is if we meet people that are different than ourselves and integrate,” stated Schorr.

The MHS students in ICE club get a chance to share their culture with the exchange students through different types of activities. Pumpkin carving and trick or treating are two activities that Schorr has planned for this October. Last year, the club held its own Christmas party.

The cultural exchange isn’t just something that Schorr thinks is important. Medina’s Mayor Mr. Dennis Hanwell also thinks that the MHS students can learn from the exchange students.

“I think they would learn that they are really not that different from one another,” stated Hanwell. “There may be some small differences; how things are approached or how things are done. But there are likely many more similarities than differences.”

Before Hanwell became Medina’s mayor he worked in the police department. He thinks that cultural exchange is something that is important in that profession. “When I was with the police department I think sending officers or hiring officers who had been to college was helpful because a lot of times in the college experience you will experience people from other cultures and people from other backgrounds,” Hanwell said.

Hanwell went on to say, “Even within our own country, there are so many differences and the more well-rounded person that we can get to be a police officer, I think they have a better method of handling people and understanding people.”

Hanwell believes that ICE Club is an important part of MHS. “I feel that it’s going to be a positive exposure for the students, both at our school and a positive exposure of our school to the exchange students. And I think we can learn a lot from one another. I think we can understand each other better and maybe break down the preconceived notions or maybe even just false information that the media kind of perpetuates,” Hanwell stated.

And ICE has inspired the American students, last year’s president Jacob Vogelgesang is currently an exchange student in Chile. Next meeting, the club is going to Skype with him so he can talk about his exchange year. This year, Jacob’s sister, Megan Vogelgesang, has taken over the role as president of ICE club.

Cultural exchange is something you can find anywhere. At college, on your job or when traveling both inside or outside of the country. You can also find it in room 2217 on Wednesday’s with ICE club. Their next meeting is on Wednesday, Sep. 27.