FLEX Students of the Month

February, March, & April 2023

FLEX Student of the Month (April 2023): Laura from Armenia

YES Student from Lebanon holding National Honor Society certificate

Since arriving in the United States, Laura has developed a strong bond with both her host family and her local community. When Laura arrived, she was shy. However, she has turned into a beautiful butterfly that is open to trying new things and putting herself out there. Everyone who meets her adores her.

Laura’s host mother has raved about how Laura has enthusiastically sprung into action to share her Armenian culture with her host family. “To say Laura has been a treasure to host is an understatement. She felt like family within days of coming into our home. We have had a few students through FLEX, however, this student is so special. My 7-year-old son adores her, and my 16-year-old daughter has found a sister/best friend for life,” says host mom Jennifer. In particular, Laura has helped her host sister who is an adopted child of Armenian heritage learn about her country and culture through the eyes of a young girl her same age.

Laura has undertaken an impressive workload while in Portage High School, maintaining perfect grades while taking honors courses and insisting on extra credit. She has joined the tennis team, and yearbook club as a photographer, and received an award for participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest where only five students were chosen to participate.

Laura has completed 55 volunteer service hours and is working toward her goal of completing 100+ service hours. Her volunteer hours have been largely completed in a local consignment shop, where she often spends an entire Saturday volunteering with her host sister, and at the public library. She also works as a volunteer at the church nursery and is very active after school with the yearbook committee. Together with fellow students, she is running a campaign to collect donations from local businesses to help the school.

Her host family and PAX coordinator praise Laura for her determination to succeed, but above all for her kindness and joyfulness. Her host mom shares how much they appreciate Laura’s role in teaching them about Armenian culture and cuisine. To surprise them with their favorite dessert from Armenia, Laura even reached out to her natural mom who is a baker, got the recipe, and baked "gata" for her host family.

Host mom Jennifer and the entire family are so thankful that they have the opportunity to host Laura. “I just want to thank PAX and the FLEX Program for allowing us the honor of hosting such a bright and wonderful girl. She has been such a gift to us, and it will be heartbreaking to let her go.”

Laura has been an excellent representative of Armenia and the FLEX Program! With her kindness, she has touched the lives of people in her community. Therefore, we are very excited to nominate Laura for FLEX Student of the Month for April 2023.

—The PAX Sponsored Programs team


FLEX Student of the Month (March 2023): Lili from Hungary

YES student from Pakistan at American high school's science fair

PAX would like to nominate Lili of Hungary for FLEX Student of the Month. From the first day she arrived in Lynden, Washington, Lili has been a delight to her host family. Her host mom describes her as “a light that beams everywhere she goes.”

Lili has jumped into her exchange experience with a confident, graceful determination. She enjoys sharing her culture with her host family. They watch classic Hungarian movies together and make Hungarian meals and baked goods. The host family’s favorite dinner was Lili’s Hungarian goulash. Lili says she loves helping her host mom fix dinner and listening to stories about raising her children. After each dinner, she listens to her host dad’s teachings from his life. “I truly feel like I have found my second home and I have known my host family forever,” says Lili.

From the start, Lili has been very involved in her community. Although she makes it sound effortless, Lili has performed 96 hours of volunteer work. She cares for children in a daycare every Sunday for the Single Mom’s Ministry and Children’s Ministry, has packed up belongings for a family’s flooded home, spends time with seniors at an assisted-living community, and helps at the library.

When asked about her volunteer work Lili said, “Volunteering made me realize how grateful I am that I have everything that I need. Volunteering has taught me how to be selfless, more giving, and appreciative of the small things. I am thinking about how I can help people in my own home town.”

Lili excels in her classes and is taking a wide range of courses. In addition, she attends Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the Impact club. Lili participated in a nationwide FBLA competition where she and her team from Lynden High School competed in the Northwest Washington Regional Conference and qualified for the state level in all three areas of the competition (website design, UX design, and social media strategies).

Lili is full of enthusiasm and has a deep desire to experience all that her exchange year has to offer. She looks forward to participating in the Better Understand for a Better World virtual conference, cluster enhancement activities, and the Workshop for Youth Leaders in English Teaching (WYLET) in Washington, D.C. Lili shares that she got very excited when she received the WYLET invitation. “This conference will give me an opportunity to improve my teaching skills and fulfill my goal to make English available for everyone.”

Lili feels that her exchange experience has been amazing; it has allowed her to discover places, discover people, and most importantly discover herself. She would like to thank everyone who has contributed to her incredible experience in America: her host family, school, coordinator, the local community, and the FLEX Program.

Lili concludes, “I think I am living my exchange year to the fullest, and I am trying to get the best out of it. I’d like to use this opportunity to encourage other exchange students to get the best out of their exchange year.”

—The PAX Sponsored Programs team


FLEX Student of the Month (February 2023): Elpida from Greece

YES student from Indonesia playing in snow for the first time

With great pleasure, PAX - Program of Academic Exchange nominates Elpida, a FLEX exchange student from Greece and Mediapolis, Iowa to be February FLEX Student of the Month.

Elpida clicked with her host family right from the beginning. Her host mom says, “Elpida is the daughter they didn’t know was missing.” Whether they’re watching baseball, movies, or shopping, Elpida fits in like she was always there. Her Community Coordinator, Julie Renfro, says, “Elpida has really blossomed from the quiet, shy girl that arrived in Mediapolis into this bright, sweet girl who is a great communicator.”

Elpida quickly settled into small-town life and is active in the church youth group, school drama club, and volleyball. She also maintains straight A's in all of her classes and is having a great experience at school.

Because of her sweet personality, she has made a lot of friends with whom she reports having a lot of fun. Elpida has completed 40 hours of volunteer service and aims to reach 100 hours by the end of the program. She volunteered to keep statistics for the wrestling team, helped a neighbor by dog sitting, and assisted backstage for the Mediapolis elementary school musical, ensuring that everything went well during the production. Elpida enjoys her cluster activities and is eager to try new things. She is also looking forward to participating in the Civic Education Workshop in March.

Elpida has enjoyed both learning about American culture and teaching others about Greece. She has been a model exchange student and an impeccable representative of Greece, PAX, and the FLEX Program. Therefore, it is with great pride and joy that PAX nominates Elpida as FLEX February Student of the Month.

—The PAX Sponsored Programs team