Cathedral Prep is incredibly well-known in the Erie area and even beyond there, from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. In the past few years, however, Prep has expanded its range even further than that, and become a worldwide phenomenon. With the introduction of plenty of foreign exchange students, Prep is becoming known all over the world for its fantastic education. Since 2011, students from China, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Hungary, Taiwan, and other countries have come to Prep for an education and to be a part of the culture here. For the past two weeks, from November 3 to November 14, Prep had visitors from Guatemala visiting the school.
Prep and Villa welcomed 10 students from Guatemala to the schools for the past two weeks to see what the culture and school is like in America. Prep Director of Admissions Tim Dougherty said that over the summer he was contacted by the students’ teacher with the idea. He said he, “thought it’d be good idea to introduce some diversity as well as to show people from around the world what Prep and Erie has to offer.” In total 8 boys and 2 girls visited Prep and Villa.
During the school day the Guatemalan students shadowed students that were about the same age as them and experienced life in an American high school classroom. They participated and observed in class and learned about American culture. Outside of class, they were involved in the life of their host families who have graciously welcomed the students into their homes for the two weeks they are visiting. They went to athletic events, interacted with their family, and they each had a unique experience with their host family. Each family did their best to give them a great experience.
I had the opportunity to meet four of the students visiting Prep, and two of them jumped at the chance to be interviewed. I asked Melvin Flores and Diego Gaitan how their time has been so far and they both responded that it has been really good, but that two weeks is too short. “I’d like to stay here longer,” was what each of them told me. Both also said they would love to attend school in the United States, whether that is high school or college.
Diego told me that not everyone in his class came to Prep, which was only five students. He said he wanted the opportunity to come so that he could get more information about the U.S. He wanted to “see how we live and how school is here.” Melvin said he came for similar reasons, and so that he could experience the culture. I talked to them after they had only been at Prep for five days, but they said that so far it had been “really good and cool.” They said the kids at Prep had all been really nice. They both put heavy emphasis on their love for the lunches, saying that was probably their favorite part. Each of them also wanted to check out the CPEC to see where we played sports.
In the future, each said they would like to attend college. Melvin said he would really like to become a veterinarian. “I want to be a vet, but like out in the wild, and help different species like elephants and monkeys,” he said. He also said he might be interested in being a biologist. Diego had a bit of a bigger dream. “I would like to be famous because I like to sing and play guitar,” he said. “If I can’t do that, I’d like to be a doctor.”
Mr. Dougherty said that while he has no plans to do something similar to this in the future, he is open to the possibilities and would make considerations. Last year Prep had students visiting from India, and now this year students from Guatemala, so there is no telling where kids may come from to visit Prep. Mr. Dougherty wrapped up the interview, saying, “Cathedral Prep is truly becoming world renowned.”