July 1, 2015

FLEX Student of the Month – May 2015

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Diana performing in her host school's performance of "Once upon a Mattress" Diana performing in her host school's performance of "Once upon a Mattress"
Diana Volkova, a States’ 4-H placed Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) student from Turkmenistan, had a wonderful exchange year filled with thrilling events. She described her host community as a second home to her where she felt secure and comfortable.
 
Completing over 165 hours of volunteer work, Diana dispersed her skills and service throughout her community. She served food to those in need, babysat and read to elementary school children, proctored for the UW Madison Math Championship, and fed horses and cleaned stalls at the UW Hoofers Riding Club. Diana also expressed her concerns about the environment through cleaning and collecting litter in her community. The most amusing experience she shared was a haunted hike where she did not just help organize and decorate, but she actually got to scare and frighten people as they walked by! 
 
With affection for the arts, her year incorporated various occasions where she let her talents shine. Diana landed a role in her high school’s musical, “Once upon a Mattress,” and spent time painting faces and helping children with crafts at Christmas events in Argyle and New Glarus. Spreading her gifts to the elderly, she played piano for seniors in the New Glarus Nursing Home. Her fondest memory is when she performed for a woman’s 102nd birthday. Seeing the smiles of those enjoying her music embodied what she feels is the main point of community service, to “serve for society and for people.”
 
Excelling in her high school, not only did Diana finish with all A’s, she maximized her time there by joining the Math Club, Future Farmers of America, and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. She also loved sharing the culture of Turkmenistan with other students in her area. She gave about 15 presentations teaching about her country and its history, how to sing and dance to traditional Turkmen songs, and how to cook Turkmen food. Diana plans to share her experiences when she returns home and utilize the knowledge she gained while in the United States to organize clubs, classes, and presentations.
 
Congratulations, Diana!
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