Rochester Rotary

Rochester Adams High School student to spend senior year in Germany

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466,; Sara Przybylski, EAFocus Communications, 248.877.9200,

Rochester, Mich.— Aug. 21, 2014 – Rochester Rotary, a member club of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, is pleased to announce the club is sponsoring a senior from Rochester Adams High School in Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program for the 2014-2015 school year. The Youth Exchange Program allows students from around the world to spend an entire year in a foreign country and focuses on full immersion into the culture and language of the host country.

Katie Schmidt, 16, from Rochester Hills, daughter of Dora and Chris Schmidt, will leave on Aug. 17 bound for Germany as one of 65 students from the Ohio-Erie region of Rotary as part of the Youth Exchange Program. Schmidt was selected from a group of area high school students who applied and interviewed for the chance to be hosted through the program. Schmidt listed Germany as her first choice due to family ties in the country.

“Five generations ago, my family emigrated from northern Germany to the U.S., then my mom and my dad both worked and met there, and now I also have an aunt and uncle who live in Germany,” Schmidt said. “Given this background, I wanted to be able to create my own ties to the country and have the opportunity to truly master the language and experience the culture.”

Schmidt will be spending the next year in the state of Hessen, and living in a small city called Bad Homburg, located in central Germany and approximately 25 minutes northeast of Frankfurt. There are three different Rotary clubs in Bad Homburg and Schmidt will be hosted by the Bad Homburg Schloss club and attend their weekly meetings. The Bad Hornburg club’s main service project is Polio Plus.

Through the program, Schmidt will be staying with host families that live in villages on the outskirts of the city. Schmidt will travel by bus and train every morning to get to school with the children of the host family, attending the same school and taking 13 classes, all in German. She will also attend 15 different orientations and trips through the Rotary club. In addition, Schmidt will be taking classical dance practice, a common sport for German females to participate in, and attending gatherings with other Youth Exchange Program participants. According to Schmidt, her goals for the year are to be open to trying new things, to pass an official German fluency test and to learn more about the German culture and government.

“The school year is still ahead of me, but I am already so thankful for this opportunity,” Schmidt said. “I think what Rotary does is amazing; sponsoring students like me to go abroad for a year changes our lives in ways we wouldn’t imagine. I’m sure that my year in Germany will bring something great to my life and I’d like to thank the Rochester Rotary Club for giving me this opportunity.”

“On behalf of the Rochester Rotary Club, we are pleased to be able to send Katie to Germany to participate in the Youth Exchange Program,” Rhonda Panczyk, Rochester Rotary Club president said. “Providing our youth opportunities to experience different cultures and bring those stories and lessons back to help us better serve our local community is invaluable. We look forward to hearing all about Katie’s time in Germany upon her return.”

To learn more about the Youth Exchange Program, contact David Archbold with the Rochester Rotary Club at

About Rochester Rotary
Celebrating 60 years as a club in 2014, Rochester Rotary is one of 34,000 member clubs of Rotary International, which has more than 1.2 million members and raises and disburses funds for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. Monies are raised through social events and service projects organized by the club, ‘fines’ collected at Rochester Rotary meetings and gifts offered to the club through members and supporters.

The club welcomes new members who live or work in Rochester, Rochester Hills or Oakland Township. For membership information, contact Jeff Whitbey at Rochester Rotary meets each Tuesday at noon at the River Crest Banquet Hall on Avon Road and Livernois in Rochester Hills. Learn more at

About Rotary International
Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who hail from Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations. Learn more at

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