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Neighbors

SANTAN SUN NEWS | APR 20 - MAY 3, 2019

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Seton students bond with foreign exchange peers BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Gaining an understanding of other

cultures through bonding with peers from other lands is a lesson Seton Catholic Preparatory students have learned after students from Ireland and Taiwan visited the campus and their homes. The private Catholic school hosted 18 high school students from Ireland and eight students from Taiwan earlier this month. The Seton students hosted girls from Sacred Heart Secondary School, a Catholic, all-girls school in Tullamore, the capital town of the county of Offaly and teens from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan earlier this month. The exchange students visited Seton classes, Chandler Fashion Center and saw other tourist attractions. They explored Flagstaff and Sedona and some even went to a Phoenix Suns game. Sacred Heart is Seton’s sister school in Ireland and this recent visited marked its seventh trip to Seton through Seton Catholic’s Sister Schools Connection. In May a group of Seton students will visit Tullamore for seven days.

Visiting students from Ireland included, from left: Back: Rachel Conroy, Ebha Flanagan, Lucy Buckley and Annie Mooney; Bottom: Roison Donagher, Niamh Conroy, Vivienne Feely and Aoife Kavanagh. (Pablo Robles/Staff Photographer)

Seton’s other Sister Schools Connection is Saint Francis High School of Taipei, Taiwan. The Chandler school would like to also establish a sister school or friendship school with Taiwan Kuang Jen Catholic High School and Taipei Zhong Zheng High School. In January, Seton students William Scott Kinsey, Michael Junck, Abbey

Tran, James Ryan and Luke Ryan, along with Seton parent Mary Ryan and Mandarin teacher Wen Chyi Chiu, led by Phoenix Sister Cities Commissioner Lin Ling Lee, visited Taipei, Taiwan. Enthusiasm was high among the Irish and Taiwanese students when they visited Seton. Many exchange students from

Ireland and Taiwan said the Seton students were friendly, their host families were kind and they found Arizona to be hot. Several teens also said classrooms in Seton are more laid-back than they are at their schools in Ireland and Taiwan. “Everyone’s so friendly here and very helpful,” Aoife Kavanagh, 16, of Tullamore said. “Classrooms are more chill. I think it’s very different. You know it’s a desert-y kind of area.” Aoife, said Seton also offers more sports than she and her peers participate in at home. Lucy Buckley, 16, said Seton offers more subjects including photography, than Sacred Heart provides. “Science is a big deal,” at Sacred Heart, Lucy said. “I want to do something in business. I’d love to go here (the United States) for the summer and work.” Annie Mooney, 17, who is in her fifth year at Sacred Heart, said the heat in Arizona struck her but she likes it “within reason.” In Tullamore it is not unusual for the weather to

see EXCHANGE page 49

New Chandler church aims to bridge political divide BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

In a country where tension is brewing on a daily basis as people with differing political views attack each other, a new church in Chandler is hoping to unify those with diverse opinions and backgrounds. The Well, a nondenominational church that holds services inside Hancock Elementary School on South Pleasant Drive recently launched a new series of sermons called “YOUnited States of America” designed to help people who voted differently in elections understand each other. Ryan Gear, the church’s lead pastor, kicked off the series April 7 and the third and last one will take place tomorrow, April 21, Easter Sunday. “Like a lot of people, I think people in our congregation they feel the anxiety of our present political situation, the division in our country, the widening polarization,” Gear said. “In the media they see so much division or even in their own families. It seemed like a good way to apply the message of Jesus, which is to love your neighbor as yourself to the current situation.” “We really are not trying to be partisan. We’re not making jokes.” said Gear. “We’re not taking sides but we are talking about what it means to listen to one another even when it’s difficult.” A pastor for 20 years who is

Pastor Ryan Gear of the new church in Chandler, The Well, is concluding a three-part sermon called YOUnited States of America.” ( Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer)

originally from Ohio, Gear and his wife Hannah started holding The Well services in December.

The Well’s mission is to “create a community where thinking, compassionate people can find a

spiritual home and cultivate a Jesus-

see CHURCH page 48

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