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Dundee Students Visit Alexandria

Student exchange program begins with six young people from Scotland.

For many years, a delegation has come to Alexandria from Sister City, Dundee, Scotland, for the annual Scottish Christmas Walk. This year’s group included students, for the first time.

“I visited T.C. Williams last year and was so impressed with the staff here that I wanted to introduce some of our students to you and you to them,” said Dundee’s Lord Provost, John Letford, speaking to T.C. Williams High School students this week. “So, we are starting small but this exchange is going to grow. I wish we could bring the entire cast of the show 'Les Miserables,' in which these six young people participated, to Alexandria, and, in return, take all of you, here in this room, to Dundee. I’m not sure we can do that but this is a beginning.”

The six Scottish students are part of a group of performers who have sung and danced in Dundee’s Sister Cities in Europe. Now they are in Alexandria performing at schools and for the public in general at a concert at the Lee Center on Dec. 2.

They are 18 and 19 years old and are studying various subjects at home. Richard Waghorn studies piano. “I would love to be a concert pianist but realize how hard that is,” he said. “I may teach and I love performing.”

Samantha Jordan has taken a year off school. “I will start auditioning in the spring,” she said. “I plan to study theater and dance.”

Daniel Adams is also taking some time off to decide. “I am interested in many things and just need to decide on one of them,” he said.

Gordon Massie is working and deciding on his future as well. “I am working and performing and am not certain about the future,” he said.

Lila Clements studies drama. “I would love to be in musicals,” she said.

Emma Elbuzedi is an international relations major. “I would really like to come to the States for a year of study,” she said. Her specialty is Arabic and she wants to travel and work in foreign policy.

ALL OF THEM find life in Alexandria interesting. “It’s really strange to see traffic lights hanging over the street,” Emma said. “At home they are on poles on the side of the road.”

The young men in the group found American football interesting. “I think I will start watching it late at night,” Gordon said. “They have tapes then and now that I understand it, I’m going to watch.”

They watched some of that football last Sunday, eating pizza and talking to regulars at The Village at Il Porto on Mt. Vernon Avenue. The Redskins lost again but that didn’t matter.

On Monday, they performed for students at St. Mary’s School. “They were a great audience,” Richard said. “They were interested in our kilts and wanted to touch them.”

Monday also took them to the Smithsonian. “The Air and Space Museum was fantastic,” Lila said. “There’s so much to see here and not that much time.”

Daniel is also enjoying his visit. “Everything is very different,” he said. “I’m really enjoying it here.”

A RIDE-ALONG with Alexandria police officers was the highlight of Tuesday’s activities, after the visit to T.C. Williams.

“This is amazing that we get to meet a police officer and ride with him,” Lila said.

The Scottish students compared university at home with university here, had a tour of The White House and talked to Alexandrians.

“We have read about how people live in the States but it is amazing to actually be here and see it,” Gordon said.

T.C. students will have the opportunity to visit Dundee in April. “As the Lord Provost said, this is just a beginning,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “We will take at least six of you to Dundee in April to perform there. Good luck.”

The Scottish young people will continue their visit with performances at the Lee Center on Thursday night and Bishop Ireton on Friday morning. Their visit will end after they participate in Saturday’s Christmas Walk.