COVID-19 forces early end to study-abroad experiences

Federico and Mamadou
Posted On: Thursday, April 9, 2020

Federico (left) and Mamadou

Federico (left) and Mamadou both participated in January's Diversity Day events, including giving talks about home countries and cultures to Elementary School students.

The COVID-19 crisis has cut short the school year of two international students at Ottawa Hills: Mamadou Sy (Senegal) and Federico Celauro (Italy). The juniors returned to their host countries in the past two weeks.

Federico’s departure came with short notice; within a day, he was headed home. Mamadou’s departure had more forewarning. And so his friends delivered a proper send-off Wednesday: a horn-honking drive-by at his host family’s home. (Watch video on Facebook)

Thank you to Mamadou and Federico for sharing their lives with us this year. And thank you to their host families: Erin and Stephen Hart (Mamadou) and Pat Goik and Jennifer Barrett (Federico).

Two other international students remained enrolled and have not been told to return home yet: Shayaan Sultan from Pakistan (staying with Rabia Akbar and Javed Cheema) and Aliyya Izzizti from Indonesia (staying with Michelle and Thomas McGrath).

"We have truly enjoyed having international students at Ottawa Hills,” said Ben McMurray, principal of the Junior/Senior High School. “We appreciate their insights, curiosity, and passion for cultural exploration. They are welcome back to Ottawa Hills anytime. Once a Green Bear, always a Green Bear.”

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