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Cultural Experiences & Remembering Tika...

 

The Youth Exchange Program offers the opportunity to bring about an understanding and appreciation of cultures around the world.  Each year, our club proudly supports two in-bound and two out-bound students during their junior year of high school.  In-bound students attend our weekly Rotary Club meetings and shares their experiences with our members.  Upon their return to their home countries, many of our exchange students maintain long-term relationships with the club and/or their host families.

 

One of our exchange students, Martha "Tika" Paz De Noboa, came to our Club from Arequipa, Peru in September of 2008.  With a deep love for art, dancing, and people everywhere, Tika saw goodness in everyone and everything and came to us delivering a message of peace and love.  On January 24, 2009, while celebrating her 17th birthday with a group of exchange students in downtown Portland, a gunman opened fire on the group in a random act of violence and tragically, Tika did not survive.

 

A memorial courtyard was constructed at the entrance to Columbia High School to pay tribute to Tika's kindness and beauty, to her dream and the dream of Rotary International student exchange programs worldwide:  to foster peace, understanding, and acceptance between cultures.

 

Tika's courtyard is lined with brick pavers engraved with messages of hope and remembrance, and includes benches, trees, and a memorial marker honoring her life.