NEW BONDS ARE FORGED by these Brunswick County families and the foreign students who are
spending a year with them. The American Field Service has brought together those pictured (from left)
Dan Martin and Mike Martin, both of Sea Trail with Ben Hamilton from Australia , Jane Martin ,
Ben 's host mother, Milena Jenkins from Costa Rica, and her host mother Nancy McDowell.
Reach Across The World
And Find A New Family
BY MARJOR1K MKGIVKRN
Tom and Nancy McDowcll arc a Shallolic Point
coupic who reared ihrcc sons and now have the daugh
ter they've always wanted.
Mclina Jenkins of San Jose, Costa Rica, with two
sisters at home, now enjoys the fun of three big broth
The acquisition of new families by these people
happened because of the American Field Service
(AFS), an international program that enables high
school students in America and abroad to spend a year
in another country and experience another home life.
The McDowells, whose adult sons live in Charlotte,
were surprised that they qualified to host a foreign stu
dent. "I thought there had to be a teenager in the home
to send to another country as an exchange," Nancy said.
They chose Mclina from a list of prospective ex
change students 2nd she chose them. They met Issi
summer during an orientation week in Charlotte and she
came to live with them in July. She is to return to Costa
Rica on July 1 1.
For her part, Mclina, a happy, dark-haired, lX-ycar
old beauty, is delighted to be part of a family of boys.
"Now I have three brothers!" she exclaimed, saying she
has spent time in Charlotte visiting the McDowcll sons
during her nine months in America.
This is not her first trip to the United States. "! visit
ed relatives in New York five years ago," she said,
groping slightly for the right words, but using correct,
nearly unaccented English. Asked if North Carolina
seemed different from that northern metropolis. She
rolled her eyes and laughed, nodding in agreement.
Mclina has fit comfortably into the school scene at
West Brunswick High School, making the honor roll,
learning American sports and meeting good-looking
"Ohhhhh, yes!" she said in answer to a question
about the prevalence of attractive young men. Pressed
as to differences between Costa Rican and Brunswick
County youth, she struggled to be diplomatic. "Back
home, boys arc. ...well, a little sweeter.. ..warmer," she
As for classwork, Nancy said Mclina's teachers
"couldn't say enough good things about her. They were
amazed that she hail so little trouble with the language
anil did so well in American history. They said she's
just like a sponge."
Costa Rican schools arc considerably dilfcrcnl from
West Brunswick, according to Melina. "Students must
wear uniforms at school," she said, "and we study cer
tain subjects one day, something else the next."
She was impressed with the high-tech equipment,
such as computers, available to students, and with the
intense interest Americans show in sports. Among her
travels since last July, she remembers fondly a trip to
Atlanta, "to sec the Braves win!"
She's been skiing, too, an impossibility in Central
Amcrica, fished from the McDowell's boat ("and I
caught one!" she reported excitedly), and has traveled
with the McDowells to Wilson every six weeks for
progress meetings of AFS.
"They gel fumi'iicN anu students together to discuss
problems they've had," Nancy said. "Melina and 1
looked at each other after the first meeting and said,
'There must be something wrong with us. We haven't
had any problems.' "
They confessed to initial nervousness on both parts,
but the girl has become an integral part of the family.
"We look at her as our daughter," Nancy said, hugging
Melina. "When she's out on a date, I sit up and wait and
worry about her."
Melina did not even admit to much homesickness,
though she calls her Costa Rican family every two
weeks. "I have my family here!" she said.
The McDowell's enthusiastically recommend host
ing foreign students through AFS. "It's just a wonderful
experience," Nancy said. "We certainly intend to visit
Costa Rica in the future and Melina will come back to I
visit us. We have a new daughter."
Beth Pupp, Spanish teacher at West Brunswick ?
High School, was the liaison between AFS and the
McDowells, also arranging for Australian teenager Ben
Hamilton to be placed in the Sea Trail home of Tony .
and Jane Martin.
She said the organization became visible in this
county just last year. Anyone interested in more inl'or- I
mation about the program can write to her at P.O. Box
1624, Shallot tc, N.C. 28459.
Phone Service Cut Again
More than 9, (XX) telephone cus
tomers in southwestern Brunswick
County were left without service for
a few hours Tuesday following an
other accidental cable cut.
Customers in the Seaside and
Longwood exchanges couldn't make
or receive outside local or long-dis
tancc calls from 1:20 p.m. to 3:45
p.m. Tuesday, according to Russell
Price, general manager of AUantic
Telephone Membership Corp.
Price said a contractor hired by
Brunswick Electric Membership
Corp. to install concrete utility poles
along U.S. 17 south of Shalloltc cut
a cable Tuesday afternoon.
The crew was working just north
of Holden Brother's Produce on the
cast side of U.S. 17 when it cut the
"T-scrccn" cable that connects the
Seaside and Longwixxl exchanges
with the rest of the world.
Price said the Seaside exchange is
Atlantic Telephone's largest with
about 8,(XX) customers. It includes
Occan Isle Beach, Sunset Beach and
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Calabash. There are about 1,3(X)
customers in the Longwcxxi ex
Tuesday marked the third time in
the last three weeks that area resi
dents have had their phone service
interrupted bv accidental cuts along
Long distance telephone service
was cut off for several hours March
31 when a contractor broke a
Southern Bell cable in northern
The same contractor that caused
the problem this week was blamed
lor cutting an Atlantic Telephone
cable near Supply on March 16.
"It's sure frustrating for our cus
tomers to continue experiencing
these things," Price said Tuesday.
The ATMC manager cxpccts more
problems as contractors continue
work relating to the four-laning of
U.S. 17 through Brunswick County.
"The scope of the project is just
so big and so broad and there's so
much going on we just can't keep up
with it all," Price said.
"I guess it's progress that we're
experiencing here, but 1 think it's
progress with a cost."
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Lincoln Classes Focusing
Students at Lincoln Primary
School will mark National Math
Month with spccial math activity
days planned for each grade level,
starting with the kindergarten and
first grade classes next week.
On April 10. parent volunteers
will staff activity centers set up in
the school gymnasium.
Individual c I asses will lake their
turn working through the centers,
which will offer hands-on experi
ences in measuring, graphing, work
ing with geometric patterns and
"mental" math, among other topics,
said Esther Smith, school spokes
Volunteers have already been at
work making the mampulatives :m<l
other materials needed for the t
"The parents are really looking
forward to it," she said. "TTiey're re
al excited about it."
Sccond- and third grade classcs
will participate in different math day
programs later in the month.
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