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May 2018


UTP Exchange student Gerardo Viana Torre from Mexico was named student of the month for April at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, a notable accomplishment among the student body. Gerardo's list of involvements and accomplishments at the schools is impressive: he played on the Boys Soccer team in the fall; he is a current member of the Spring Track team; he is an active member of the Campus Ministry club; he volunteers regularly at school events; he taught Spanish to his peers during the school's World Heritage Week event; he has spoken to world language classes to educate classmates on his personal experience and culture in Mexico; and he maintains President’s List status - the highest academic honor roll in the school! He is pictured with his host sister Eloísa, who received the same award in March. Outside of school, Gerardo is also an active volunteer at St. Ann's, a local nursing home, where he spends time talking and playing games with the residents. After his year at Saint Thomas Aquinas, he will return to Mexico, but his impact on the school and community will certainly not be forgotten! 


Each year, ambitious high school students across Long Island present personal research projects at the  Long Island Science Congress. The Science Congress is an annual adjudicated exhibit of top science projects, reviewed by a committee of teachers, professors, and doctors -- a prestigious accomplishment for the participating students. This year, Saint Anthony's High School UTP junior student Ruilin Yin (Reid) of China presented at the fair, held in April at Saint Anthony's. His project began when he dedicated two months last summer to pursue his research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory through a Stony Brook University summer program. In his research, Reid focused on improving the efficiency solar cells. The 2018 Long Island Science Congress awards will be presented on May 22 during a ceremony at Saint Anthony's High School. Good luck, Reid! 


At UTP, our host families don't just provide a house for our international students; they provide a safe, supportive second home, and foster relationships that extend beyond the day our students leave them. The Giannettino family in New York is a perfect example of this. The family welcomed two students, Tianyi Wang (Alex) and Guoyuan Li (Rachel) while they studied at Saint John's High School in New York. "We had the best times," the family says. "We learned so much from the girls, from putting on makeup and designer everything, to eating Korean food, and enjoying K-Pop and Chinese TV shows!" Alex and Rachel graduated in May 2017, and are now both studying at the University of Delaware. The girls and the family have stayed in touch, along with Xinyu Chang (Grace), another former UTP Saint John's student that the family hosted. In March, Rachel and Alex visited with friends to celebrate Rachel's birthday, and Grace stayed with the family while visiting friends at the school. "We love the kids as our own!"


New this Spring semester, UTP has launched a new series of New Student Workshops as part of our ongoing mission to improve and expand our student support. These New Student Workshops are required for new students beginning each semester, and are molded to each individual center’s needs. Each Workshop within the series has a unique focus; Spring session topics have included "New to America" and "Host Family Interactions," and the theme of the third workshop of the semester will be "The Self-Esteem Regime." The content and experience of the workshops have been well-received by our students, and we looking forward to continuously improving the support our students receive to make their transition into the USA and our schools as smooth as possible! 


At Seton Catholic Preparatory, sophomore UTP student Khuong Pham (Aiden) of Vietnam is following in his older sister (Monica) Khanh's footsteps in attending Seton (she will graduate this year and will attend #42 ranked University of California, San Diego!). But despite having big shoes to fill, Aiden has already made a name for himself through his impressive accomplishments on the Junior Varsity Boys Tennis team. This Spring, Aiden helped the team become the Top #2 ranked team in their competitive section, and the Top #12 team in the entire State Division 2, with a 9-4 record. Even more impressively, Aiden was the top-ranked player on the team with an incredible undefeated season (10-0)! In addition to his accomplishments on the tennis court, Aiden has enjoyed getting to know the Seton community, and playing on the Boys Junior Varsity Basketball team. "Seton has a diverse community and it has a welcoming environment," he says. "It's allowed me to grow as a person since I'm surrounded by great people who are willing to help me out."


At Trinity Catholic High School, James (Jim) Anderson is in his second year working with UTP as an ESL teacher and Student Services Coordinator. In his dual role, he is able to work with all UTP students at Trinity. Jim grew up in Massachusetts and Texas, and has lived in Florida for 20 years of his adult life, but his travels have not been limited to the USA. His students benefit from his knowledge gained from his global travels; after completing his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, he moved to Barcelona, Spain to obtain his TESOL certificate. "I caught the travel bug after I toured a few countries in Europe," Jim says. He decided to teach in Korea, where he met his wife, and later moved to the Middle East, where he continued to travel. But just as much as his students surely gain from his experience exploring the world, Jim says that his favorite part of his job now is "teaching and learning from my international students who come from a variety of different countries. I really enjoy watching them succeed and grow with their English skills and with their social interaction as well." 
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