Years of dedicated service to the Oneonta Rotary Youth Exchange Program has resulted in a lasting tribute.
The creation of the “The Oneonta Rotary Breuninger/Forman Award” for an eligible graduating Oneonta High School student, was announced Thursday by the local Rotary.
This annual scholarship that will be administered through the Oneonta Dollars for Scholars, honors Dick and Mary Breuninger and Ed and Carol Forman for their many years of dedicated service in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. The Breuningers have both served as Rotary district chair, as has Ed Forman, along with local participation.
“It was a pleasant surprise and quite a nice honor,” said Dick Breuninger.
He got involved with the exchange program after moving in 1980 to Oneonta, from Otego.
“It is more than just a visit, but a way to get to know a culture,” said Breuninger.
“It’s a nice honor,” Ed Forman said.
The youth program is “a once in a lifetime opportunity” that gives participants a chance to broaden their view of the world. He became a Rotarian in 1987, as a way to give back to the community. The exchange program seemed like a good place to put his volunteer efforts. This would not have been possible without the support of his wife, he said. They have enjoyed hosting students when the opportunity arose.
The program sends high school age students to one of a variety of countries, to become immersed in new cultures. Typically, students are sent for a year-long stay, living with multiple host families and attending schools in their host countries. Oneonta Rotary has historically annually hosted four foreign students and sent four Oneonta High School students on exchange programs to other countries.
Oneonta Rotary Fund President Gary Herzig said the $500 award will be presented to a senior who intends to pursue a course of studies involving international or foreign relations.
“We are pleased to be able to both further the Rotary objective of encouraging international good-will and honor the work of two very dedicated Oneonta Rotary families,” he said.