MONUMENT - Kayla Hamlin is not from a different country, she's from Mitchell, and she is the only "local" student housed at the Monument Dormitory.

Jim and Theresa Alexander are serving as dorm parents for the second year. Jim is the math teacher at Monument High School. Their family this year consists of Hamlin and seven other young women from around the world.

Hamlin has lived in Mitchell for about 10 years. Her stepfather, Terry Sawyer, is a Wheeler County trapper and her mother, Mary, works at Mt. Bachelor Academy. Her sister, Sara Hamlin, a veterinarian, is a student at Central Oregon Community College. Kayla is a junior who is interested in dance team, basketball and football and serves as the Tigers' mascot. She has enjoyed "bringing a little bit of my small town" to Monument and interacting with her seven new sisters. She appreciates her new family and the "great fishing" at Monument.

Zuzana Kovacova, a senior, is a native of Slovakia. Her hometown is Piestany, population 31,700. Her mother is a teacher; father, a businessman. She has one brother, Michal. Kovacova hopes to be a diplomat, or perhaps get a job that involves history. She enjoys reading, dance, running, conversation and meeting new people. She appreciates the people in Monument "because they let us to be a part of this tiny town." Of the dormitory, Zuzana said, "It's the real home for us."

Johanna Doll is from Eschborn, Germany, with a population of 20,000. Doll's mother is an interior designer and her father is a manager for an office furniture corporation. As a high school junior, she is planning on college, but her career choice is undecided. She enjoys volleyball, horseback riding, biking, basketball, music and friends. Living at the dorm is "a totally new experience," said Doll.

Kimiko Ishiro came to Monument from Japan's capital of Tokyo, population of 12 million. Her father is a public official; her mother is a housewife. She has one younger sister, Yumiko. Kimiko is in her first year of high school. At Monument, she is a cheerleader, an activity she didn't have in her home school. She enjoys music, basketball and other sports as well as watching movies and talking with her dorm family.

Phawinee Phongphureksathat, also known as Kwan, is from Thailand. Her hometown of Songkhla has 12,000 people. Her father teaches and her mother works at a bank. She has no brothers/sisters, but does have many cousins. She loves to play on the Internet, watch scary movies at the dorm, sports and music, especially singing songs in her native language with her dorm sister, Jill. Kwan considers her friends at Monument her second family.

Ahwon Kim of South Korea comes from Ulson with a population of 11 million. Her father is a doctor; her mother, a housewife. She is a freshman who is planning college. She serves as a Monument School cheerleader and hopes to go on a trip to Washington with the dorm family. She enjoys walking with the dorm dog, Chester.

Chang-Jung Lin, also known as Jill, is from Taiwan. Her hometown is Chai-Yi City with a population of around 260,000. Her father is a public official and her mother is an accountant. She has an older brother and younger sister. Jill is a junior who enjoys badminton, fishing, piano, art and is a cheerleader at Monument School. She enjoys traveling and hopes to try her hand at golf and play in the snow this winter, skiing. Skiing and golf are not well-known in her own country.

Jin Tao, "Peach," comes from Beijing, China, a city with a population of 12.8 million. Her mother works for the Physics Institute of Chinese Science Academy; her father is a computer engineer. She is an only child. As a junior, she is considering attending college and studying fashion design. This year she enjoys cheerleading, painting, swimming, fishing, skating, rock music and tae kwon do. She also hopes to play golf, go skiing and travel with the dorm family. She also aspires to attend a rock concert and NBA game. The funniest part of life at Monument is taking pictures, Peach said.

For most of the young women who come from very large cities, it's been a cultural adjustment to be in Monument - Smalltown, USA. They are all adjusting well to the change and seek to learn more of the English language and hope to mix with the community. Anyone who would like to include these adventuresome young women in a community activity can call the school at (541) 934-2646 or Theresa Alexander at the dorm, 934-2519.

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