Students rally for glamour

Prom - the event that teenage girls dream about all four years of high school - a night of glamour and fancy dresses.

Not being able to find the “perfect” dress and shoes can be disheartening, but having a community behind you that is full of helping hands and kind hearts, the struggle becomes much easier.

Such was the case for five Yosemite High School foreign exchange students. Christina Pechan and Bel Sejas who are staying with the Erik and Leslie Peterson family - Kaho Hirota staying with the Robert and Shiela Moreno family, while Leyre Ochoa and Danbi Kim are staying with the Jacob and Kellie Geyer family.

Their special night was made easier as YHS classmates of all grade levels came together to donate dresses, shoes, makeup, and jewelry for these girls who did not have the privilege of going out and buying hundred dollar dresses and accessories.

One student attending Prom commented on these ladies appearances - “They looked stunning - It’s so heartwarming to see everyone come together to help them feel as beautiful on this night as they truly are.”

Along with this event being a community effort, the venue this year was at the Madera Municipal Golf Course, with an elegant and fun theme of “Frame the Moment.” All the students and chaperones were transported to the Prom from the school in three big yellow school buses. A dinner of tri-tip and chicken was served, followed by a sweet treat of white and chocolate cake. S

Immediately after eating, the dance floor began to fill up with sparkling dresses, high heels, and clean cut tuxedos and the dancing did not stop until the music ended and it was time to file into the buses for the trip back to Oakhurst. Many girls could be seen hobbling out the door barefoot, with high heels dangling from their finger tips and their dates jackets draped across their shoulders.

With sleepy eyes and young spirits they traveled back to the high school, their hair not as stiff and makeup slightly smudged, but beautiful all the same.

The safety of the school buses kept parents minds at ease knowing their tired children would not have to worry about driving their worn-out selves back after a full night of dancing and fun.

The Prom king and queen were Logal Szabadi and Jessica Fine.

Host families sought

Cultural Homestay International (CHI) is seeking host families for international high school boys and girls for next school year.

CHI is a non-profit educational organization that seeks to promote international understanding and goodwill through people-to-people exchanges.

Exchange students are between 15 and 18 years-old, and are academically sound, speak English, and are anxious to learn about America while living with an area family while attending high school. They are happy to share their culture and language with their adopted host families.

Each CHI student is fully insured, brings his or her’s personal spending money, and expects to share in household responsibilities. Families can select their student from a wide variety of nationalities, backgrounds, and personal interests.

Carol Berger, of Riverbank, is an area coordinator for CHI. She has worked in the student exchange industry for 27 years.

“Whatever the host families interests are, we try to find a student who is as close a match as possible,” Berger said.

Families interested in hosting a foreign exchange student can contact Berger at (209) 863-2111,, or CHI toll-free at 1-877-737-0409, or visit

“It’s a wonderful experience,” Berger said. “It’s the best learning experience one could ever imagine.”