By Conrad Dudderar
Adele Marchisio is earning the complete “senior experience” at Yukon High School.
The 17-year-old exchange student from Italy is spending the 2022-23 school year in Oklahoma.
Adele is from Villanova Mondovi, a municipality in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont.
Although this is officially her junior year in Italy, she’s already had her senior pictures taken at YHS and will participate in senior-year activities like prom and graduation.
“I really like the high school,” Adele said. “Friday night is ‘game night’. I like the sports here. We don’t have sports in my school (in Italy).
“I love football games – and I love Friday nights.”
She even got to sit in the press box at Miller Stadium.
“I like having the ‘free’ Saturday,” Adele added. “(In Villanova Mondovi), we go to school on Saturday.”
In her hometown school, students attend classes five hours a day, Monday through Saturday; and then do schoolwork at home for several hours daily.
Students there stay in the same classroom and same group all day, as teachers rotate in and out.
This school year in Yukon, the Italian exchange student has embraced the opportunity to move around hourly and have social interactions with a wider range of classmates and friends.
“The students have been very nice, especially after they found out I was not American,” Adele said. “They are kind, almost everyone.”
YHS teachers also have been gracious and patient as Adele works hard to earn good grades in her classes.
Adele arrived in Oklahoma on Aug. 15 and started the fall semester at YHS that week. With a career goal to be a veterinarian, she especially enjoys classes related to the medical field.
“I love animals – every type of animal,” she said.
Adele completed an internship at veterinary clinics in Italy, helping confirm her desire to pursue this career path.
She looks forward to attending veterinary college after finishing high school upon returning to her home country.
Her “host family” is Yukon’s Tom and Amy Schroeder, along with their teenage children, YHS junior Ella and eighth grader Paul. The Schroeder home includes dogs and a pet snake.
Adele’s English teacher in Italy encouraged her to come to the U.S. to study. She’s cherished the experience so far, one that will continue through the end of the school year.
“Adele is taking junior-level classes here, but they classify her as a senior so she can have the senior experiences,” host mother Amy Schroeder said.
“She’s a good kid – a good student. She got a bad grade on one test – and it was devastating. You could see it all over her face.”
For the fall semester, Adele is taking English, math, history, zoology, psychology, and medical courses.
After returning to Italy next June, Adele will still have another year of high school to complete before college and pursuing the veterinary career.
CONTINUING THE TRADITION
Adele’s host mother, Amy Schroeder, is the daughter of Yukon’s Gary and Suzanne Cannon.
Schroeder recalled growing up when foreign exchange students would stay in her home while attending Yukon Schools. She wanted to become a host parent this year so her daughter Ella could share this experience.
The Schroeder family was accepted through the ASSE International Student Exchange Programs.
“When we were selecting students, they asked, ‘What are you looking for?’,” Amy Schroeder related. “We said, ‘We have to have somebody who loves animals because there are going to be dogs and a snake’.”
Ultimately, it was Ella who choose Adele since they’d be sharing a room.
The visiting student has developed a genuine friendship with both Ella and Paul, her host sister and “little” brother in Yukon.
“They are perfect,” Adele said. “I love everyone. Since the first day, they’ve been really kind.”
She has a 15-year-old sister at home in Italy.
“I’m happy to have a ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ here,” Adele shared. “Every day, I play with them, I laugh with them.”
It seems most appropriate that Adele’s host grandmother, Suzanne Cannon, is a Pets & People Humane Society board member.
“Adele is going to be helping with our non-denominational ‘Blessing of the Animals’ at our dog park (701 Inla) this Sunday from 2-4 p.m.,” said Cannon, who also serves on Yukon’s Board of Education.
“Any pet is welcome – dog, cat, horse, rabbit, snake … .”
Adele’s entire host family – the parents, grandparents and siblings – have helped her overcome homesickness and made her recent 17th birthday extra special.
Adele has grown comfortable with a new, busy daily routine.
This bright exchange student and her hosts have made several trips to Oklahoma lakes, while she and Ella visited Michigan over fall back – even attending a Michigan State football game.
She’s also an honorary Yukon Girl Scout, since her host mother is a troop leader here.
Adele comes from a mountain region in Italy near the base of the Alps, so she’s had to adjust to a much different landscape here in Oklahoma. A competitive skier, she’s been skiing since age 3.
Adele didn’t really have any expectations for her exchange year in Oklahoma.
“Every day, I learn something new,” she explained. “I’ve found this part of my experience is really cool.”
Since she will be in the U.S. for 10 straight months, she checks in regularly with family back in Italy.
“Sometimes, for help with my psychology homework, I have to call my mom,” Adele noted.
Her time in the U.S. has been well spent.
“I like this type of culture and tradition,” she said. “I like the different food that I find here.”
Adele’s favorite American food?
“I can eat like 10 donuts in a day,” she shared.
Her favorite TV show?
“I love ‘Big Brother’,” Adele replied.