All is Deeply Appreciated…!

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.      by  Alan Cohen 

Last week’s Post came from Washington, D.C. and today I am writing from Kingsport, Tennessee. EH college.png

The past several days have been very exciting and inspiring in many different ways. I have had the true pleasure of spending much of the past three days with Angela, Noelia, and Celeste at and around Emory & Henry College.

lunch w President
Dr. Gaia, Dr. Ramirez-Trujillo, George Whitley, Joseph Taylor, and President Schrum joined Celeste, Noelia, and Angela for lunch

We all have done some very fun things including lunch with Jake Schrum, President of Emory & Henry College. Angela, Noelia and Celeste traveled with me to my 50th High School Reunion activities, met many of my classmates and were greeted by the mayor of my hometown…Marion, Virginia. We also attended a concert and a potluck. There is more…they were treated to hiking trips, went bowling, and were taken on a bicycle tour.

The Robin Grossman host family, Dr. Gaia, Dr. Davis, and so many others went the extra mile to make this a very special and memorable trip for all three of our guests. Never have I been more proud to be associated with this project, my friends, and our guests. So much has been brought to us on this trip as our guests have been wonderful “ambassadors” representing their community, the Learning Center, their fellow students, and even “Friends of Copey”.

Noelia and Celeste were huge hits at my class reunion events. This was the first time many in southwest Virginia had seen or met someone from Costa Rica and they fully enjoyed this rare opportunity to meet and enjoy

Dancing at reunion
Noelia and Celeste Perform

the Costa Rican dance performed by Noelia and Celeste.

With a different group they were treated to a potluck attended by mostly college personnel.

Both groups watched with interest and admiration as the two skillfully performed. There were many among both audiences wanting to know more about them and their community.  I will send you an excerpt of their performance in next week’s Post.

Starting this morning, Noelia and Celeste are beginning their “Summer Scholars Institute and Leadership Program” on campus. They are joining other students for this week-long program of learning.  Angela, as a “guest professor”, will be busy teaching students about Costa Rica and its culture. This week promises to be as exciting as last week but more academic in nature.

I wish to close this Post by commenting on Angela. She is very special and has done a remarkable job as Director of the Learning Center. Her leadership and devotion to the Learning Center in part is what produced the quality of students we have seen with Noelia and Celeste. We have learned to appreciate their efforts to master English. We have also had the amazing opportunity to get to know Angela. In a large way, the students represent the results of Angela’s efforts and dedication to the Copey community. It also demonstrates the enormous trust and confidence the community has placed in Angela. Sending young ladies off to America is not common at all in Copey and it demonstrates the level of interest the community has in the futures of their children.

Here are a few of the comments written to me in a “Thank You” note from Angela:Angela Bike

“You know there are no words to describe what this kind of experience can mean to someone. I can’t imagine a greater gift than this for a teacher. It has been so special (so far) living through this experience with my students, seeing the excitement on their faces when they found out they had been chosen, when we got on the plane, seeing the Smithsonian collections, getting to know this part of the country and its people. So many blessings.”  Angela

The “Friends of Copey” all thank you Angela. The Learning Center, personnel, community, and especially the students have given meaning and purpose for this great partnership.  God Speed!


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