Guatemala family has close ties with Ashby school [UPDATED]Published 9:32am Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Updated 11:33am Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Hosting exchange students from Guatemala is more like hosting family members for Orland and Donna Norenberg of Ashby. This fall they are hosting Andy and Ceci Melgar from Guatemala whose father, Carlos, stayed with the Norenbergs as an exchange student in Ashby back in 1978-79.
“We’re thrilled to have Andy and his sister, Ceci, stay with us,” said Donna Norenberg.
Andy Melgar is back in Ashby for the second consecutive year. He was a freshman at Ashby a year ago and has renewed friendships with fellow sophomores. Ceci Melgar is an eighth grader.
They are in Ashby from September through December. This is their school break from classes in Guatemala, equivalent to the summer break for kids in the United States.
Last year, Andy studied in Ashby as did his brother Alvaro, who was junior in 2010-11. Alvara now is a high school senior in Guatemala who looks forward to college.
“Here in Ashby we have it nice, since our house is right across the street from the school,” said Andy. “We don’t have very far to walk to school.”
The Norenbergs reside along Birch Street on the east side of Ashby school. Orland is retired after working in maintenance for the city of Ashby. Donna is a former day care provider.
Carlos Melgar, who attended school in Ashby and who lived with the Norenbergs just over 30 years ago, is a principal in Guatemala and oversees operations at seven schools.
Their mother is a homemaker, and for good reason. There are 12 children.
“They (the Melgars) have a wonderful family,” said Orland Norenberg. “We’ve been fortunate to be close to this family for so many years.”
The Norenbergs took Andy and Ceci to Itasca State Park this fall, something which they really enjoyed. Andy again looks forward to winter ice fishing.
“It’s always warm down in Guatemala, so ice fishing is fun and something really different for me,” said Andy.
Ceci had heard a lot about the Mall of America in Bloomington. She’s looking forward to the mall and also seeing other areas of the Twin Cities.
Both students, however, feel that for most of the three months in the United States, they have almost everything they need and want in Ashby. They’re happy with the class selections, the warmth of fellow students and things to do in the Ashby area.
The two exchange students will return home in December, and the Norenbergs will accompany them. It will be a happy time for the Melgar family, with the wedding of Andy’s and Ceci’s sister, Rosario. The Norenbergs look forward to being part of the celebration.
“We love Ashby,” said Andy.