Hands-Down Winning Candidate in Sister City Exchange Seeks Host Family

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    Erik Stoklasa is a 16-year-old ready for adventure. He can hardly believe his good fortune at being offered the opportunity to travel from his home in Tábor, Czech Republic to spend his fall semester at Miramonte High School in Orinda. 
    Now, his sponsor, the Orinda/ Tábor Sister City Foundation, is looking for a family to host Stoklasa. 
    “Hosting an exchange student can enrich a family,” said former Orinda Mayor Bobbie Landers, one of the founding members of OTSCF. Stoklasa will be the 19th student to visit Miramonte from Tábor. Landers says that ideally the host family will have a child Stoklasa’s age.
    After initial submissions were made, the foundation read essays from 15 students.  “Erik was the hands-down winning candidate after the field had been narrowed to five and oral interviews were conducted,” Landers said.
    As the foundation searches for a volunteer host, Stoklasa says he is excited about the prospects and ready to begin to “explore a completely new path in my life.” He says he was motivated to come to Orinda because he was impressed with the blogs of previous exchange students from Tábor and looks forward to building a relationship with his own host family.
    The student said he is excited to learn about the California style of education and expects to gain a lot from the experience of studying at Miramonte because it “would provide me with a lot of insight into the United States as a whole, into English and myself as well.”
    Stoklasa is a well-rounded high school student. “I am keen on website development,” he says. In his home country, Stoklasa started a course for high school students to learn programming and presentation skills, which led him to develop an interest in IT. 
He is preparing a project to reconstruct the website the Sister City Foundation uses.
    Besides programming, Stoklasa enjoys running, has completed a quarter marathon and has played tennis competitively for nine years. He is interested in science, technology, engineering, math, humanities and is learning to play the piano.
    Stoklasa says he is appreciative of the Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation for providing him with the opportunity to study abroad. “I believe it is a really authentic and great way of providing insight into the local community. Who would not want to spend one semester in a completely different country like the USA?” asked Stoklasa.
    For more information or to volunteer as a host family for Stoklasa in Orinda, contact Landers at 925-254-8260, or via email at bobbielanders@yahoo.com. To learn more about the Orinda/Tábor Sister City Foundation go to www.cityoforinda.org.

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