Tag Archives: Spoofhounds

Home away from home: German student attends MHS to improve language and gain new experiences

picking-jenny-up-at-the-airportBy Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

Jenny Ahlgrimm describes her hometown of Hamburg, Germany, as “ big, modern and busy.”

With a population of 1.7 million, it’s sure to be a bit different from Maryville, where she is living during the 2016-17 school year as an exchange student.

But calling it a bit different might be an understatement.

“Pretty much everything is different,” she said. “Maryville is small and peaceful. Everything is green. The climate and the sky are so different. The school is completely different and the activities you do after school. In the US, everyone drives everywhere, and in Germany, you walk or take public transit.”

‘it’s America!’
Experiencing all of these differences is one of the reasons Ahlgrimm decided to become an exchange student.

“(I wanted) to see what it is like to start over where you don’t know anybody,” she said, adding she wanted to improve her English and gain more experiences. “And it’s America!”

At home in Germany, she works as a lifeguard and swimming instructor and also babysits. She enjoys running, something she has been able to continue at Maryville High School where she was on the cross country team in the fall and plans to be a member of the track team this spring.

During her time in Missouri, she has enjoyed attending Kansas City Royals and Chiefs games, taking senior pictures, hanging out with new friends, kayaking and spending time with her host family, Paul and Cathy Rybolt and Dalylah and Shayleigh.

She’s also has fallen in love with Reese’s peanut butter cups and Sonic blue raspberry slushes with rainbow Nerds.

‘I am torn’
But Ahlgrimm said she misses things from home. German tap water, German chocolate, her family and friends and swimming.

And she’s faced a few challenges as well.

“The language barrier; I have a hard time coming up with the correct English word sometimes,” she said. “American History is extremely difficult if you are not American. I also had a hard time with the heat and humidity when I got here in July.”

She’s also had some interesting and humorous experiences since she’s arrived.

“Someone really asked me if we have electricity in Germany,” she said. “The answer is yes. Someone else said that being from Hamburg is not that special because it is only one hour away.”

And in case you were wondering… Hamburg, IA, is 60 miles from Maryville and Hamburg, Germany, is 4,567 miles from Maryville.

With all of her experiences – the good, the challenging and the odd – Ahlgrimm has mixed feelings but is grateful.

“I am torn,” she said. “Part of me can’t imagine living here a whole year, but the other part of me can’t imagine having to leave my family here.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

‘I was intrigued’
Cathy Rybolt said a friend suggested she look into it becoming a host family.

“I was intrigued,” she said, and after sharing the information with her husband, Paul, they decided to do it.

Paul is a student at Northwest and Cathy is the outreach director/MIS team leader at Community Services in Maryville. Dalylah is in fourth grade and Shayleigh is in third grade at Eugene Field.

“We have enjoyed sharing our love for the outdoors with Jenny,” she said. “Since she has been here we have been camping, boating and kayaking at Mozingo Lake. We also took her hiking at Indian Caves State Park.”

She said it’s been enlightening and educational for their family as well.

“In school you learn about different cultures but living with someone from another culture is very different,” she said. “Teenagers from different countries are most definitely not like American teens.”

Dalylah and Shayleigh are enjoying their time with Jenny and learning new things from her.

“I like having an older sister,” Dalylah said. “She has never had any siblings, so I am glad that I get to be her younger sibling.”

Shayleigh said: “I love my Sissy Jenny because she gave me a birthday present and she makes crafts with me. I like Jenny spending time with me and tickling me. She is teaching me German. We love her accent.”

And everyone loves that she shares her German chocolates with them.

    To learn more about becoming a host family or being an exchange student, visit ciee.org.


Are you following us yet?

That they might have joy column for Nodaway News Leader by Jacki Wood

 

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I joined Facebook in April 2007 as a way to stay in touch with family. I recently looked back at some of my first posts and they were mainly just conversations between my sister, Amy, and me. It has changed a lot since then and I have changed how I use it, although one of the best things about it is keeping in touch with family and friends all across the country and around the world.

Then in March 2009, I joined Twitter and hated it. Like a lot of new technology, and even social media, I didn’t really get it. Only 140 characters per tweet? No thanks. And who cares what some celebrity is eating for breakfast. But I kept hearing about what a great tool it was for journalists. Really, it’s all in who you follow. I use it to learn. I get my local, national and worldwide news from it daily. And I can keep up with BYU athletics more readily.

And then I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, which I use to find recipes, plan road trips, gather ideas for family reunions, hairstyles, holidays, the home – and thousands of other things.

I started using Instagram in May 2012 as a fun way to edit my road trip pictures and see more of the world around me.

Now I realize not everything about social media is good. I recently took a six-week hiatus from Facebook. I came back refreshed, made some changes and love using it again. But I do advocate moderation in all of this.

So why am I sharing about my social media use?

Well, I also manage the social media accounts of the Nodaway News Leader. After reading about how businesses were getting involved, I advocated the NNL get on board. In August of 2009, we joined Facebook and Twitter, and in the years since, added YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. It’s been quite a ride.

I love that I can be sitting in my home, three hours from Nodaway County, and watch the Spoofhounds (@Spoofhound1) play football on Leader Live Action and tweet that Brody McMahon (@mcmahon_34) just scored a TD for the Hounds or that Jacob Cacek (@BigSauce_05) came up with a big sack.

Or that the new North-West Nodaway football co-op (@NNMustangs and @West_Nodaway) won its first game.

Or retweet that the Jefferson (@JC123Eagles) girls softball team won 15-2. Or the South Nodaway (@SouthNodawayFAN) softball team defeated Albany.

Or share events happening at Mozingo Lake (MozingoLake), at the university (@NWMOSTATE) or with Big Brothers Big Sisters (@BBBSNodaway), just to name a few.

On Twitter, in addition to live-tweeting games and scores, we also tweet school and community events, post content from our website and information we feel our followers might find worthwhile.

On Facebook, we share lots of photos, stories and fun and distribute news, information and alerts.

On Instagram, we post photos (obviously) of high school sports, community events and more.

On Pinterest, we share recipes on our Good Eats board that correlate with those in the paper, holiday fun and informative boards like local schools, businesses and elected officials.

We have a small staff and are limited in covering all of Nodaway County, its community governments, events and nine school districts for the paper.

The same can be said about our social media accounts.

But we are always looking at ways to improve. I try to stay up on the latest trends (they move very quickly), what people want and ways to better connect with you, our readers and followers.

What works for some, doesn’t work for others, though. So please feel free to email me at jwood@nodawaynews.com with your suggestions, complaints and compliments. Or, better yet, tweet me at @jackijwood. I’d love to hear from you.

You can also tweet the paper at @NodawayNews or the rest of the staff: Kay Wilson, publisher/owner, @KWilsonNNL; Dustin Henggeler, sports reporter, @DHenggeler; Kathryn Rice, reporter, @Kathsmagic; Tiffany Whipple, advertising rep, @tiffwhipple; and Brent Barnett, videographer, @25Barnett.

Neal Schaffer, author of “Maximize Your Social,” said: “Social media replaces nothing – but complements everything.”

We’re still the same Nodaway News Leader, bringing you good news and covering all of Nodaway County, but we’re just complementing it more socially.

So if you’re not already, give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We’d love to connect.


National anthem deserves our respect

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader

Two days after the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, the Boston Bruins took to the ice in the city’s first major sporting event since the attack. The Boston Fire Department Honor Guard, representing all of the city’s first responders, presented the colors and singer Rene Rancourt began singing the national anthem.

But after just a couple of phrases into the song, the entire crowd had joined in, singing so loudly and with such conviction, that Rancourt lowered the microphone and they all sang along together.

It was one of the most emotional renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” I have ever witnessed. The “USA!” chants that followed reminded how the country can come together united as one.

Not all experiences with the national anthem are that memorable, nor do they have to be. But each should have the respect of the performer as well as the crowd.

Some of my earliest memories of “The Star-Spangled Banner” came at Spoofhound football games. I remember really cold, dark nights, when my mom would bring these old blankets for us to bundle up in and hot cocoa in an old thermos we had. And I remember the Marching Spoofhounds taking the field and forming an “M” for the football players to run through. And then there was the national anthem. Everyone towering around me stood with their hand over their heart. I would stand up on the bleachers so I could see. And the crowd sang along. They always sang along.

So that’s what I grew up knowing. You always sing the national anthem.

I’ve noticed recently, however, that people aren’t doing that much anymore. I’ve seen it at high school ballgames and during the Olympics. I really loved those US gold-medal athletes who stood atop the podium and actually sang with the music.

But if you choose not to sing along, I can respect your feelings as long as you respect the flag and the anthem. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

I attended a high school basketball game last week and was standing directly across from the teams as local JROTC members presented the colors in the middle of the floor. I stood there singing when I noticed movement just left of the flag.

It was one of the athletes (not from the Nodaway County team), and she was quite distracting. She adjusted the spandex shorts underneath her uniform, first the left leg and then the right. Then she tugged at the left sleeve of her jersey and then the right. And finally, she pulled her headband down, let her hair out of her ponytail, pulled it back up and then readjusted her headband.

I fought hard to concentrate on the song and the words and the flag and what it all meant. And I felt badly for the student singing just a few feet from her.

I did not know the player, but I was embarrassed for her, her family, her school and her community. Had she not learned to be respectful or realize the significance of the national anthem? Or did she just not care?

Regardless, here’s the back story:

After a 25-hour onslaught of Fort McHenry by the British, the early morning light broke through on September 14, 1814, revealing the US flag still flying over the fort. Francis Scott Key looked out from the ship where he had been detained, seeing this sight, and then penned the words that would later become “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

By the 1890s, it had been adopted by US military forces for ceremonial purposes during the raising and lowering of the colors. And it officially became the national anthem in 1931 (The National Museum of American History).

The respect we should show is not just for the national anthem, but also for the flag. According to The Flag Code:

“To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart….When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music” (usflag.org).

Henry Ward Beecher said: “A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation’s flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.”

I agree. And I believe the fans of that Boston Bruins game last year demonstrated that to the rest of us.