Wallowa County High School students have an opportunity when school is out this year to travel to Austria as part of an exchange between the local high schools and a school in Graz, Austria. Travel dates are June 13 to July 4. To indicate an interest, students and parents are asked to attend a meeting to be held at the Enterprise High School library at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28.

Information brochures on the exchange are available at each of the county's high schools.

Chairperson of the exchange, Amy Johnson of Wallowa, emphasized that attendance at this meeting is not an indication of an obligation to become part of the exchange, but it is an information meeting to give families a better understanding of the program and provide information to help make a decision about participation.

Who is eligible to participate? Any student who is now in high school in Wallowa County, grades 9 through 12. Mrs. Johnson said that the costs to the students or their families are variable, depending on the schedule of things to happen in Austria. These costs will be explored at the Oct. 28 meeting.

The local students will be in Austria about three weeks. During that time they will spend a few days in Vienna, the music capital of the world, attend classes at BRG Korosistrasse School in Graz, and travel rather extensively in Austria, and perhaps some day-trips to Hungary, Slovenia, or Italy. They will also visit a castle, the most extensive museum of armor (such as knights, suites of Armour, ect.) in the world, and other "tourist" type attractions near Graz.

While in Graz, the students will live with Austrian students and their families and will have the opportunity to grasp Austrian culture head-on. After returning home and at the end of summer when school starts here, the Austrian students who have hosted the Wallowa County students will come to Wallowa County. Here they will spend two weeks in local homes, hosted by local families.

The program of exchange began in 1996 when Gert Habach, a teacher in the Austrian school, contacted the late Terry Crenshaw at Wallowa High School. The two teachers started to put in motion the things necessary for the exchange to happen. When Mr. Crenshaw became ill, Amy Johnson stepped in and completed the setup of that exchange and coordinated the next exchange.

There have been three exchanges with the Austrian school involving about 30 Wallowa County students.

Those involved in the mechanics of the exchange this year (on Wallowa County end) are chairperson Amy Johnson, Rick Bombaci, Stanley Dougherty, John Gorsline, and Don and Evelyn Swart. Any of these people may be contacted for father information.

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