On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, two exchange students from France, Maxime Lamour and Alexandre McKenzie visited ERDA Tech. Accompanied by Xavier School’s International Programs Office Coordinator Mr. John Michael Cuepo, Maxime and Alexandre met with ERDA Tech’s administrators: Mr. Peter Marc Magsalin, Principal, Mr. Ernesto Chua, Jr., Assistant Principal for Academics, and Mr. Jonathan Lacson, Assistant Principal for Formation. ERDA Tech’s two French volunteers, Miss Valentine de Dreuille and Miss Clementine Donnefort were at the said meeting too.
The visitors watched the video “Somewhere Out Here”, produced by Xavier School alumnus and ERDA Tech benefactor Mr. Jack Ng and directed by veteran commercial ads director Mr. Jeric Soriano, which dramatizes a young boy’s metamorphosis from a hopeless and lost lad to a very competent and confident ERDA Tech graduate who becomes successful in the field of food trades.
Miss de Dreuille and Miss Donnefort, together with selected grade 9 students: Owen Patrick Moral and Marjorie Aguja of Grade 9 – Nikel, Alexis Dominic Pascual, and Rubilea Anthonette Pangindian accompanied the French students and Mr. John Michael Cuepo to the canteen where they ate their morning snacks and chatted, after which the French volunteers toured the visitors around the campus.
A community exposure trip led by ERDA Tech social worker Mrs. Tess Andres followed. The group went to Punta, Sta. Ana across the Pasig River from ERDA Tech, where many ERDAnians live. They rode a boat, which is one of the things that ERDA Tech would like its visitors to experience.
Upon visiting the house of one of ERDA Tech’s students, which was small, barely furnished, and had no electricity, the French students gained a better understanding of and a greater empathy for the plight of the less fortunate in Manila in particular, and in the Philippines in general.
They also visited the toy library at the Jaime Cardinal Sin Village housing facility. The said library is an outreach project of Xavier School San Juan.
From Punta, the group went to the railroad tracks in Beata, Pandacan where the young French students experienced riding a trolley to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa and back. The trolley is an improvised means of transport pushed by its driver and traveling on the railroad track.
The young men left ERDA Tech with a loadful of friendships made and lessons learned.
Maxime Lamour and Alexandre McKenzie arrived in the Philippines from France on July 15 for a two-month stay as grade 11 students in Xavier School San Juan under the AFS (formerly American Field Service) Intercultural Exchange Program. They are staying with host families from Xavier School.