Lasting memories: Spaniards have departed, but friendships remain

During class, the Spaniards taught Hamilton students many things, including how to do some Spanish dances.

At Hamilton, an air of melancholy settled over students recently involved in the Spanish exchange program as the best friends, students, and those siblings-they-never-had left for their home country once more.

“It was really hard [when they left] because I made a ton of friends,” freshman and first year host Josie Grady said. “We all got super close and I can’t wait for them to come back.”

It’s not only the students in Hamilton that are feeling the dispirited air about the Spaniards’ departure, but teachers as well.

“For both teachers and students it’s really sad; they become your friends – it’s really hard to let them go,” Spanish teacher Mary Ayres said.

In addition to being the chief organizer for the exchange, Ms. Ayres also hosted the two teachers who led the Spaniards – Miriam Espinal Cruces and David Nieto del Cerro.  They both left Hamilton with their students Thursday, Sept 13.

Every year, the America-bound students come from Aristos High School in Madrid, Spain (for those of you who haven’t taken Spanish or don’t know world geography, Madrid is the capital of Spain) for roughly two weeks.

That may seem like a short time, but students and adults bond with their exchange partners and create friendships that can last for a lifetime.

“I think this year more than ever we had good pairs,” said Ms. Ayres when asked how she thought this year went compared to others. “It felt like everyone was a friend or a sibling by the end of it. Even the kids who didn’t click right away did before they left.”

Not to dissuade anyone from getting an exchange student, though. Nothing of the sort! The parting was bittersweet, we’ve heard about the bitter, and now for  the sweet; the memories left over from the unique experience.

“It definitely had to be when we went to Michigan Adventures; that, or trying on each other’s clothes,” said freshman Kacie Grady, when asked what her favorite memory was.

“Mine was when we tried to get them to say ‘squirrel’,” her sister Josie said, when asked the same question.

Both girls and Ms. Ayres agreed that, though saying ‘Adiós’ made them feel blue, they would – without a doubt – do it all over again.

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