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posted: 4/16/2013 2:37 PM

Burlington Central grad headed to Brazil, thanks to Rotary club

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  • Burlington Central graduate Stephanie Foster is the Outbound Youth Exchange Student to Brazil, sponsored by St. Charles Rotary clubs and Elgin Rotary clubs of Rotary International District 6440.

    Burlington Central graduate Stephanie Foster is the Outbound Youth Exchange Student to Brazil, sponsored by St. Charles Rotary clubs and Elgin Rotary clubs of Rotary International District 6440.
    Courtesy of St. Charles Noon Rotary Club


Submitted by St. Charles Noon Rotary

Recent Burlington Central High School graduate Stephanie Foster has been selected by Rotary International District 6440 for their Outbound Exchange Student Program to go to school in the city of Mineiros in the state of Goias, Brazil.

The 75 Rotary Clubs in Rotary District 6440 include both the St. Charles and Elgin Breakfast and Noon clubs as well as clubs in Batavia and Geneva.

Mineiros, which is about 330 miles from Brasilia, is one of the largest and oldest cities in the state of Goias. This city has a population of over 52,000 and is known as a great producer of cattle, soybeans, and corn. Foster will be in Mineiros for 11 months and will be attending Colegio Agape which is equivalent to high school in America.

Foster is following in the footsteps of one of her older sisters, Amy, who also was an Rotary International Youth Exchange Student in Brazil; in fact, Amy is tutoring Stephanie in Portuguese via Skype to help her prepare for her new adventure. As a Youth Exchange Student, she will spend 11 months living with a host family and attending school where she will learn a new way of living, a great deal about herself, as well as a new language. She also will act as an ambassador, teaching people about the United States, its culture and ideas with the goal to bring the world closer and make some good friends in the process.

While growing up here in the U.S., Foster enjoys spending time with her family and friends; watching movies, having bonfires, making food, and playing outdoor sports. She loves being around people and is a very outgoing person who likes to try new things and make new friends. Math is one of her favorite subjects because "it is the same worldwide". She also enjoys being in charge of events and activities at school because "it gives me a chance to show the younger grades that it is OK to prioritize and manage them in a manner that will provide time for themselves". To her "having a lot to do and getting it done efficiently is a perfect example of leadership skills and independence". During her life she has traveled with family to Belize, Jamaica, Mexico, and Canada so many might consider her quite adventurous.

Her goal is to become a medical doctor and to open up her own practice. She wants to achieve this goal because she cares a lot about people and their health and hopes to use all of the knowledge gained through Rotary Youth Exchange to work better with many different types of people.

For more than 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level the Rotary clubs. Rotary club volunteers administer the program at the local level, which helps keep cost low for students and their families. These volunteers often offer years of experience with students, host families, and fellow Rotarians who are involved in the program. The costs of this program are borne by Rotary District 6440, the student, and her family. In District 6440, there are 16 students going to 12 different foreign countries this year.

One of the U.S. exchange students to Australia said: "What a wonderful opportunity I was given, from both the Rotary club and my family, to spread my wings, taste the culture, and live the life."

The 51 members of the St. Charles Noon Rotary Club are people of action for their community and the greater world needs. For example, this club has assisted in the building of a library and school in a rural area of Guatemala; has sent emergency aid to Haiti; has financially supported local nonprofits; and has contributed funds to Rotary International's goal of worldwide eradication of polio.

In addition, the club has provided more than $64,000 in local scholarships over the past six years. Rotary members are business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

For details, call Dustin Hawkins at (630) 584-2255 or visit For details about the St. Charles Breakfast Club, call John Knewitz at (331) 228-4911 or visit