Sutter's stranger a stranger no more
Every high school has the handful of students who have not gone to the same school all four years. Some students transfer for academic opportunity and others for sports. At Sutter Union High School, we have one "stranger" in particular with an extraordinary reason for transferring whose name is Ville Roitto.
Not only is Ville a newcomer to the SUHS population but also to the United States. Ville is part of the foreign exchange program in which our country is involved with a number of other democratic countries. Ville's country of origin is Finland, located between Sweden and Russia.
Ville's reason for coming to the United States is merely for the experience. He plans to return to Finland after the school year to serve his final year of high school. Ville is not your average foreign exchange student. In fact, the American culture and the English language are not foreign to him at all. Ville is trilingual. Finland is a bilingual country in which Finnish and Swedish are spoken, and students there are required to learn English starting as early as the third grade.
Ville comes from a country rated No. 1 for education in a recent study by Newsweek. The American curriculum is considered elementary to Ville. In Finland, the standards for education are much higher. Ville learned calculus concepts as early as middle school, which is called "secondary school."
Ville said, "In the seventh and eighth grade, you learn the basics of just about everything, and in high school, it just gets deeper and deeper."
Ville does not only succeed academically; he also has proved to be invaluable to Sutter football and plans to be an asset for the Sutter soccer program. He was a cornerback and kicker for the football team and was a key component in the numerous fake punts Sutter ran throughout the season.
Caleb Parker, the starting corner for SUHS, said, "It was definitely nice having Ville as part of the team this year. He helped out on both special teams and defense when we needed him. He's a stud muffin."
Ville also can relate to students at SUHS. He is currently in a relationship with Allison Foster, the ASB treasurer. Allison joked, "It's definitely different dating a foreigner. Sometimes I have to explain little American quirks to him that he doesn't understand since he didn't grow up here."
However, Ville has experienced a diverse and intricate society for most of his life. Even though Ville comes from a foreign country, most of America's culture coincides with the way of life back in Finland.
Through the foreign exchange program, Ville has not only been given the opportunity of a lifetime to live in a foreign country for a year, but he also gets a chance to share his culture with us. He enriches the community around him, and he will enrich his home town with his experiences from SUHS when he returns to Finland.
Ville is well known around the Sutter campus and is often asked to tell stories about his home. With his roots firmly planted, Ville is no longer a stranger to Sutter High.
McKenzie Kimball is a senior at Sutter Union High School. His column appears every six weeks in Education.