This past summer a group of Fountain Hills High School students and educators made the journey to Fountain Hills Sister City, Zamosc, in Poland and one student went on to deliver a speech at a Sister Cities Youth Leadership summit.
The journey began for the 11 FHHS students on May 27 when the group flew into the Warsaw Chopin Airport.
Student Michal Suchanek said that it wasn’t long after grabbing their bags that they were met by the group of Polish exchange students who visited Fountain Hills the previous year.
The Falcons travelled to places like the Old Town in Warsaw and Krakow, taking in the sights before arriving at the Fountain Hills Sister City.
“We were all waiting to return to Zamość, where all of our exchange students were from,” Suchanek said. “Even though we stayed with our respective families, the American students and their Polish brothers and sisters would constantly meet up with each other to bike around the city, go out for ice cream and work out together.”
The group also met with Zamosc public officials.
“Zamość is a gorgeous, restored 16th century fortress-city that has many elements of Italian architecture; it is known in Polish as the ‘Miasto Idealne,’ or ‘ideal town,’” Suchanek said. “The American students were greeted with a visit to the town hall of Zamość, where they met with the mayor, Mr. Andrzej Wnuk, to exchange gifts and a little history of Sister City exchange. Soon after, we were given a complete tour of Zamość and its history.”
After spending two weeks traveling around Poland, the Falcons flew back home on June 10, but Suchanek stayed for an extra month.
Once Suchanek made his return stateside, he travelled to Houston, Texas where he attended the Sisters Cities Youth Leadership summit.
At the summit Suchanek learned “about Sister Cities, diplomacy and preparation for me for a career in leadership later in my life.”
Suchanek also had an opportunity to deliver a speech while at the summit.
“My speech in Houston was tailored around thanking the staff of Sister Cities International for hosting such a wonderful event, as well as commenting on how the more resources and the more manpower that SCI receives, we can finally achieve President Eisenhower’s final dream of world peace through citizen diplomacy,” Suchanek explained.
At the conclusion of the summit Suchanek felt prepared to continue his citizen to citizen diplomacy work.
“The contacts and friendships that I made in Houston provided me with a tremendous amount of opportunities,” Suchanek said. “I am very grateful to have attended the YLS, as well as the SCI conference.”