When Aya Kawauchi returns to her native Japan after her year as a Rotary Exchange Student, she will share many memories about her host family, her friends, and her school.
But I suspect her greatest memory is one she has already been able to share- via YouTube—her big night on the basketball court for the Victor High School Girls’ Basketball Team.
For over 75 years, students and families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange.
More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students participate each year. In our area, Rotary District 7120 hosted 20 students this year.
This year, the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club is hosting Aya Kawauchi- from Japan. She is staying with Kim and Tom Yourch, whose daughter, Chelsea is spending the year as a Rotary Exchange Student in Thailand.
When Aya first arrived, everyone soon learned of her love for basketball. She loves to play and is a big fan of the game—especially the New York Knicks.
As a member of the Victor Girl’s Varsity basketball team, she has not played a lot this year- but on Tuesday night, February 12th, she was one of four seniors honored at the game against Fairport for “seniors’ Night.”
She was designated – for the first time- as a starter, which included a “photo-op” with her host parents. She played the first three minutes of the game- and then spent the rest of the game on the bench—until the last minute and forty seconds.
With Victor trailing by 20 points, Aya was sent in to finish the game. She made two attempts at 3-point shots and missed.
Then- with just 9 seconds left – she made one last- long attempt, and yes—she scored! It was the last basket made for the night- and the regular season.
Needless to say, the crowd went wild- and Aya left the gym with tears of joy in her eyes. Victor may not have won the game, but Aya certainly won the hearts of those in the stands that night.
Rotary International’s foundation is based on promoting world peace and understanding.
The Youth Exchange Program allows young people to embrace other cultures and broaden their view of the world.
It also allows them to build goodwill and better friendships- one Rotary Club, one host family, one school, and one basket at a time!
Don Alhart, Anchor
YouTube Video: http://youtu.be/sJCcEnfUR5o