Bruins News · Saying So Long to Valentina Donato; Parting Words

Foreign exchange student Valentina Donato spent the last school year as a Bruin. She was very involved throughout her stay. After her return home, she requested a letter proving her participation in sports at Blackford, so I asked her to share about her experience in the States and at BJSHS and she graciously shared some thoughts about her visit.
Here is what Valentina shared about her experience….
I’m really happy about my experience in the U.S. and in Blackford. Despite the differences and some difficulties, I found many people interested in my culture.

I joined the soccer and basketball teams. I found myself surrounded by coaches and players who showed a lot of enthusiasm and welcomed me with open arms, even if I had never played before and I was new. That didn’t make it easy, because at first I found practices hard and exhausting, but I always received support. It was worth it, because I had a lot of fun and good memories from games, practices or group activities. For example, on my very first weekend I went kayaking with the soccer team, and even if I struggled to remember faces and names, everyone was really super nice with me, and that’s how it went all throughout the season.

I come from a fairly big city and I am used to a different scholastic system. However, I adapted pretty quickly and appreciated some parts of the small town life. What I enjoyed the most were probably the football and basketball games, that were a fun and good opportunity to socialize, hang out with my friends and get to meet more people from school. We don’t really have anything like that because sports have nothing to do with school, and that’s a pity. I didn’t know much about “school spirit” when I first came here, and after only a few months things changed a lot. I found myself at school for most of the time. I had lots of fun at Homecoming. I have a lot of Blackford merchandise.

I’m glad I got to be a Blackford Bruin.  It wasn’t obviously a perfect experience and I was disappointed I didn’t get to enjoy the last months here, but I still had a great time, I met many interesting people and learned new things!
Of course, Covid likely took away a few neat experiences like graduation and travel opportunities which were very limited after March 14th.
But we were happy that Valentina was able to join us for almost a year and we thank her for being a Bruin! We say “so long”, but best of luck to Valentina where ever life leads her!