Exchange student enjoyed visit to Pearl River County

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

EXTENDED FAMILY: Foreign exchange student Lennard Schroeder with his host parents, Tammy and Edwin Pearson. Submitted photo

EXTENDED FAMILY: Foreign exchange student Lennard Schroeder with his host parents, Tammy and Edwin Pearson.
Submitted photo

A foreign exchange student from Germany has blossomed during his 10 months in Carriere.

Lennard Schroeder, also known as Lenny by his host family and friends at school, came to Carriere from Moelin, Germany on Sept. 29, 2013 and will soon depart to his home country.

The 17-year-old student has attended Pearl River Central High School during his time in Mississippi and said he has truly enjoyed the little things he’s experienced while here.

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Schroeder is an only child and said that didn’t hinder him in adjusting to his new life, but his parents have had a more difficult time during his absence.

Tammy Pearson, Schroeder’s host mother, said Schroeder has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while here, has earned AP credits in Chemistry, has been invited to join the National Honor Society and received the Outstanding Junior award by PRC high school’s band director.

Pearson said the award is based on attitude, camaraderie and leadership.

She was truly impressed with Schroeder’s musical talent. Pearson said he easily picks up music and can play a song after listening to it once or twice.

Back home, Schroeder teaches students how to play drums and is in a local band, Pearson said.

Schroeder said playing percussion for the marching band has been one of the best experiences during his visit. He said in Germany, sports aren’t associated with the schools. He was happy to contribute to the school spirit by being a part of the marching band.

Schroder said he didn’t have many expectations before coming to America or Mississippi.

“I didn’t really have clear expectations on what to expect,” Schroeder said.

Some things he said he didn’t expect and had to get used to were riding the bus to school, since schools don’t provide transportation in Germany, morning announcements, school breaks and bells ringing to signal the end of class.

But it’s been the small things that he has enjoyed most about his time in Mississippi.

“My favorite thing has been being part of everyday life and being a part of a family, not just being a guest,” Schroeder said. “Talking to people about everyday stuff and being just another student at school and being integrated in groups there.”

Pearson said she and her family will be sad to see Schroeder go on May 28.

“I know exactly what his parents are feeling,” Pearson said. “They’re so excited their son is coming back, but they had to endure what I’m getting ready to endure, sending him away.”

This is the second of eight students Pearson and her husband hosted together.

Pearson said the first student her husband hosted was Michael from Holland, who is now 42 years old, married and has three children of his own. Both families are extremely close to this day and Pearson’s husband is about to travel to Holland to celebrate Michael’s parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

“They are our family,” Pearson said about the previous students they have hosted.

Pearson and her husband decided to start hosting students a few years ago after their son Zach, who is now 23-years-old and a student at Pearl River Community College, started getting ready to move out the house.

“We knew how precious this organization and bonding is, so we made a call,” Pearson said.