Community reaches out to international students at SPIRE

Nov. 25—Students from all over the world experienced a taste of an American Thanksgiving on Thursday as staff of SPIRE Institute invited students into their homes.

"We kind of split up with those we had relationships with," said Terri Long, director of college and career counseling for SPIRE Institute, who lives in Girard in nearby Trumbull County.

Long invited seven students from Egypt, Senegal and Guyana to her home for an American Thanksgiving with a little of Egyptian cuisine added to the menu.

"It's good. It's my first time. I have heard about [Thanksgiving] on television," said Yassen Eltaranisy, who lives in Cairo, Egypt.

"It is very loving," said Adham Montasseor, also of Cairo, He said he likes the idea of experiencing family life in an American home.

Daniel Claxton, of Guyana, said it was great to experience food from American and Egypt. "I think it is great. These guys are one my team and it is a bonding experience," he said.

"Welcome to the chaos," Long said with a laugh as she cooked food and the students assisted where they could. Long agreed to serve koshary, an Egyptian favorite, as well.

"We've talked about it for a couple of weeks," Long said. "I watched youtube, I watched Tik Tok, she said.

Long also talked with one of the student's mother in Egypt this week over the phone.

Other students went to a home in Chardon and the high school basketball team had food on campus after returning from a game in Texas.

The school also reached out to the community to assist some of the students from warm weather countries thad didn't have winter clothing, said Lindsay Bell, SPIRE Institute's customer engagement specialist.

Bell spread the word regarding the need on campus and a community Facebook page and clothes came pouring in to those with a need for winter clothes.

"I noticed that one of the girls was wearing the same pair of sweat pants every day," Bell said.

"[The students] were so excited," Bell said.

"We never want anyone to feel like they can't ask for basic things," Bell said,"This is a special time for these kids. They should be able to enjoy their time at SPIRE and focus on their sport and schoolwork."