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April 4, 2014

Group to compile stories from ex-Rotary exchange students

Wanted: Former Rotary Youth Exchange Program students and their stories.

Mary Breuninger of Oneonta has been searching for former exchange students as plans are being made for 50th anniversary events in Rotary District 7170.

The district, which includes Oneonta and other area clubs, this year will celebrate 50 years of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Almost 5,000 students have either come to stay with families within the district or traveled to foreign countries during the past five decades, said Breuninger, a long-time program supporter. The Oneonta Rotary Club has sent and received almost 500 students during that period, she said.

District 7170 celebratory activities will be at Greek Peak Mountain Resort near Cortland on June 13 to 15, according to a media release. 

Rotary clubs in Morris and Unadilla are among area clubs organizing local events, Breuninger said. The Oneonta Rotary Club is planning an event during the late afternoon June 15, the release said. 

Breuninger said she has been combing through records for the past year and contacting Rotary clubs, trying to locate former exchange students, known as Rotex. The goals are for former students not only to attend events and meet one another, she said, but also to share stories about how exchange experiences made an impact on their lives.

Breuninger, whose family was host to 25 students between 1975 and 2006, said an anniversary website has been launched at Rotex are encouraged to complete a profile and survey about the program, she said.  

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