Our member Phil Turek introduced Harry Vickers on Wednesday morning. Every year the Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) sponsors students from around the world for one academic year at colleges in Georgia. About 50-70 students come each year, sponsored by one or more of the Georgia Rotary clubs. The Skidaway Island Rotary Club, joined with three other Savannah area clubs to sponsor Harry, who is enrolled at Armstrong State University.
Harry lives with his family in a small town called Louth, in the county of Lincolnshire, a rural northeastern county on England’s east coast. Harry told us about his family, his town, his school and hobbies, his future, and his hopes and dreams. Harry is just eighteen years old, one of the younger students we have sponsored, and we admired his self-possession as he talked to us. For Harry, this year is a "gap" year after school and before the university. His family includes father, an engineer, mother, a solicitor (lawyer), two younger brothers, and a Jack Russell terrier. Nearby are two sets of grandparents and a host of cousins. Some of his relatives, Harry said, have come to the US in past decades, to Michigan and to California. Harry said that he is thrilled to be here; Georgia is bigger than the whole of England, almost of the whole UK! He has cycled from the west to the east of England in five days - he expressed doubts about trying such a journey in the US. His hobbies include sports of all kinds, and acting; he has performed in many plays and musicals. His extra-curricular activities also include sports that require physical stamina, volunteering, and coaching children’s sports

We watched a video as Harry spoke. He showed us the town of Louth and its surrounding countryside. It is a pretty market town of <20,000 people in fairly flat countryside which is good for crops. The pictures showed hills and a river, parks, and the town whose skyline is dominated by St. James Church which is 500 years old this year. Harry spoke of his school, King Edward VI Grammar school, the oldest grammar (high) school in the UK; he has spent the last year in the "sixth form", the last grade before the university, preparing for the "A level" exams which are necessary for university admission. A former student of this school was one James Smith who, 400 years ago, sailed to what was to become the state of Virginia. He established the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown and became the first governor of Virginia.

Harry said that this is a very important year. Next year he hopes to go to the University of Durham, UK, to study geography, especially its human side, eg, development, poverty, cities, population, geopolitics, and conflict. At Armstrong, where he is a student now, Harry is studying world/regional geography of the US and Georgia, acting, golf, none of which he will get at Durham University.

This is a wonderful year and a wonderful opportunity, Harry said, it is a unique experience to see a completely different culture, to meet new people and try new things. He expressed heartfelt thanks to the Rotary Club for sponsoring him and for providing such an experience.
Below is Harry with his Host Family, President Elect Bill & Karen Jahn