FLEX Student of the Month
Future Leaders Exchange Program student from Lithuania playing the piano at practice at his Texas high school
Matthew, a pianist in the ensemble, sharpens his skills at practice.

Motiejus—who goes by "Matthew" in the United States—is a Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program student from Lithuania who hit the ground running when he arrived in Houston, Texas in September. Just days after his arrival, Hurricane Harvey was scheduled to hit Texas, bringing flooding to Houston. Matthew did everything he could to help his host family, school, and community in a time of great hardship.

He helped his host family prepare for the hurricane and eventual flooding by moving things upstairs, setting up a barrier around the house, and pumping out the water that broke through the barrier. Matthew worked hard with his host father, and together, their efforts prevented their home from flooding (sadly, not something most families around them could say). Host mom Susan said, "Every time he was asked to do something, he said, 'Yes, of course.' He is a great kid with his priorities in the right place. He is a testament to a great family and home country!" In addition to helping his host family, Matthew volunteered over 24 hours with his high school band to help clean up the houses that had flooded. In four days, they volunteered in four homes—one of which belonged to an elderly widow who had no family in town.

Due to the hurricane, school did not begin until mid-September. Nevertheless, Matthew joined the marching band prior to school and has been practicing with them since he arrived. His hard work has earned him a greatly sought after performance spot in the ensemble as a pianist. Matthew also plans to join the basketball team when the season begins. 

Matthew is a polite, well-mannered, and admirable young man who has been an excellent ambassador for Lithuania, PAX, and the FLEX Program. He has already shown himself to be an active, contributing member of both his school and host communities.

Congratulations to Matthew, October 2017 FLEX Student of the Month!

—U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs