Five foreign exchange students have been living in the Lake Region and attending Devils Lake High School for months, but this week they traveled to California for a completely new experience.


Five foreign exchange students have been living in the Lake Region and attending Devils Lake High School for months, but this week they traveled to California for a completely new experience.
On Wednesday, the teens helped decorate the Cal Poly float for the Rose  Parade and this weekend they will be attending the parade as part of the 2011 Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.
“The 122nd Rose Parade theme is 'Building dreams, friendships and memories,'” said AFS parent Roxanne Hawley. “This theme ties in so well with the AFS program. AFS students dream of going abroad and exploring another culture while discovering new friendships. Along the way, both the families and students make memories that last a lifetime.”
Devils Lake's Hawley is one of the many faces behind the AFS program. Every year she helps find homes for students and plan activities to help them make the most of their time here.
While attending a conference, Hawley said, she was discussing service projects with another AFS volunteer named Janet from California and learned that her students participate in building the Rose Bowl parade float each year.
Hawley said they then discussed bringing the North Dakota chapter to California to have the teams work together on the project.
Hawley said Janet will be hosting the crew from Devils Lake this week.
“The trip to California will allow the students to see another part of the USA that will be significantly different than what they are experiencing in small town North Dakota,” Hawley said.
While in California, the group also planned to visit Chinatown, the Disney Concert Hall, the LA Market, the Kodak Center, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Getty Villa, Santa Monica Pier and Universal Studios.
Making the trip were Nicole Corinaldres of Italy (host family Bev and Matthew Mack), Lasse Winzer of Germany (host family Colette and Kory Boehmer), Anna-Riikka Rahko of Finland and Camilla Belmadani of Denmark (host family Brenda and Gary Connaway) and Lene Gaara of Norway (host family Ray and Roxie Hawley).
Hawley said the Cal Poly float is 18 feet wide and 55 feet long. It includes a large, animated rocket, a functioning crane and a rotating planet.
The parade will take place on Saturday, Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. It will be broadcast on several television stations, including some ABC and NBC affiliates.