In May of the 2018-19 school year, Thornton-Donovan has once again hosted students from our sister school in Albania, Asim Vokshi. Asim Vokshi is a Modern Arts Language School in Tirana, one of the biggest in Albania. We’ve had multiple exchanges between the two schools, all of which had started in 2007, where Ms. Bubesi led seven American students to her former high school.
The group arrived on Sunday, May 5th and were picked up by their host families at TD. They came to school on Monday, May 6th and spent the day on campus, trying out different classes and creating peace mugs with Ms. Bubesi. Later in the day, the group walked through Iona College campus to have lunch at Gemelli’s Restaurant on North Avenue. The next day, Dr. Kernell led the group to the Brooklyn Bridge, later having lunch at Ignazio’s Restaurant. The rest of the week saw them enjoying “Come From Away” on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, visiting George Washington’s headquarters in Old Tappan, and visiting the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Friday, May 10th.
One of our exchange students, Tedi Agolli, commented on how much he has enjoyed New York, saying, “I like it here very much, this trip has been a lot of fun so far. I also am hosted by the Lipton Family and they are very nice.”
Our Albanians kicked off their weekend by spending the day at Coney Island with a few American students, led by Mr. Fleming. On Monday, May 13, they went to Madame Tussauds and Gulliver’s Gate in Time Square, and the next day, saw the spacious Oculus Building and the 9/11 site. On the same day before they left, however, the school gathered on the tennis court to salute our visitors as they presented a traditional Albanian dance routine, joined by Albanian students of our own, Frenki Lulgjuraj ‘20, Enrik Vushaj ‘20, and Besim Mehovic ‘20.
Nearing the end of the trip, the students went to the Metropolitan Museum on Wednesday, May 15, with a plethora our students in TD’s art and music classes, taught by Mr. Goodman and Ms. Bubesi. Their schedule sees them departing on Thursday, May 16th.
This connections mean a lot to Ms Bubesi, who without her, would not have been possible. From her perspective, she noted that, “I think it is our school’s goal to explore other cultures and promote peace. Albania is former communist country presents as well a bigger curiosity. On the other side, Albania has a great sympathy for America and has always admired the New World.”
The exchanges between Asim Vokshi and Thornton-Donovan have never disappointed the students involved. We have enjoyed hosting the Albanian exchange students, and they plan to open their doors to us in an exchange in the fall of 2019. If you are able to, it is highly recommended that you go, as Albania is a beautiful country, rich in culture and history.