Many thanks to the reporter for the fine article on our foreign exchange students. I was saddened to learn that Selma High School’s first foreign exchange student, Ricardo Mendez, had passed away. It was interesting to learn of Ricardo’s life and accomplishments after he left Selma and returned home to Chile.
Earlier this year, the Class of 1964 learned, through the efforts of our classmate Dr. Diane Philibosian Seifert and the power of the Internet, that our exchange student, Anthony Kayitarama, was tragically killed in his home country of Uganda. I had often thought of him through the years and wondered what had happened to him.
Anyone who knows the history of Uganda, and it’s cruel dictator, Idi Ami, or who has seen the movie, The Last King of Scotland, understands the turmoil and unrest to which Anthony returned when he left Selma.
I, however, will always remember the quiet, shy Anthony who passed me a handwritten note in class one day respectfully inviting me to attend our Senior prom with him. I accepted. Attending the prom with our foreign exchange student remains a fond memory of my high school years. Thanks to the foreign exchange student program we learned that students from other countries are really no different than we, with the same dreams and goals.
May Ricardo and Anthony rest in peace and thank you for the article.