For the past three years, Payson High School has participated in a program promoting understanding, friendship, tolerance and learning of our neighbors south of the border. The program is Hands Across the Border, an exchange program with the Instituto Regional de Guaymas, a school in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. We have provided more than 50 of our students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language, culture and traditions of the Mexican people.
There have been many citizens and businesses, without whom we would have not been able to participate in this program. Myndi at Cucina Paradiso has been a generous contributor of meals, the Webers at Fireside Espresso have provided a venue for a farewell gathering, the Kiwanis Club has contributed funds, Sue Myers has been one of our most driving and supportive forces -- Brooke's Utilities of Pine/Strawberry, Dr. Troy Ford and Payson Eye Care have been other financial contributors. Gretchen Lenzmeier has baked some beautiful cakes with a picture of the entire group on the cake. June Hart provided mountains of excellent BBQ meat for our farewell dinner. The Payson Roundup has been generous with the coverage of our program. Mayor Bob Edwards took time out of his busy schedule to give a key to the city to Octavio Serrano, the owner of the Guaymas school.
All of the parents of the student participants should be complimented and praised for allowing their children to participate, as well as housing a student from Mexico for meals and a home for a week, not to mention the tons of food for our farewell dinners.
The following people, who didn't have students in the program, have opened their homes to total strangers without asking for anything in return: Bobby and Karen Phylow, Dan Alm and Judy Michele, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Flake, Joe Schmidt and Penny Navis-Schmidt. Please forgive me if there is anybody left out of this letter. I would be remiss if I didn't thank our principal, Roy Sandoval, for allowing us to miss school and take these students on a journey that will create lifelong memories.
Thanks also to my partner, Kym Reid, who has been instrumental in the organization and planning of this experience. And to my wife, Sandy, who has supported this program and been a wonderful hostess for the people who have stayed at our home. Thanks also to the students who have participated and helped to make the experience a success.
Bill Bowling, Spanish teacher, Payson High School