The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

December 8, 2013

Oneonta's Foreign Exchange Student Program got green light 55 years ago


The Echo, the Oneonta High School newspaper announced in its June 3, 1960 edition that, “Rose Zummo, who’s deeply interested in German reunification and the Berlin crisis, will get the chance to see first-hand German life and customs for two months this summer.” Zummo stayed with a family in Salzgitter-Bad.

“I hope I can help clear misrepresentations between Germans and Americans,” Rose said, “and create better understanding.”

Once back in Oneonta in the fall of 1960, Zummo was interviewed again by The Echo about her adventures in West Germany. It was told in the Sept. 30 edition that Rose went to live with a widow and her daughter who was the same age as Rose.

“I felt like a member of the family immediately,” Rose said. “My German sister always wanted to speak English which she had taken since the fifth grade. My mother there spoke no English, so I learned some German through talking to her.”

“For a week Rose attended the gymnasium which is the counterpart of our high school. One big difference she noticed, was that they have no extra-curricular activities and only one school dance a year.”

Also during the fall of 1960, a West German student came to Oneonta. Eike Schmitz, a student of Goethe Gymnasium in West Berlin, lived the school year with Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Rounds.

Schmitz contributed an article to The Echo of Nov. 4, 1960, making observations of his home for a year.

“It did seem quite familiar to me when I discovered that kids in Oneonta favor the TV set to a history or biology book.”

“In the two months I have been in Oneonta I have seen how things go and how to live here. Every day at least three people ask me how I like Oneonta. Though my answer is always the same, I don’t get tired of saying, ‘I really enjoy being here.’”

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Mark Simonson

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