Johnathan “Johnny” Rohr had some notion of what Homecoming is at an American high school, perhaps more so than some foreign exchange students have had past or present.
Rohr, 16, is from the Munich suburbs in the Bavarian state of Germany. He’s been in the United States as a foreign exchange student since Aug. 31 and staying with the Bernick family, including PHS teacher Mandy Bernick.
“High School Musical is a very popular TV program in Germany,” Rohr said. “So we know what Homecoming is and I think German students wonder why we can’t do the same thing even though the school systems are structured so differently, especially when it comes to sports.”
But Rohr went from just experiencing Homecoming for the first time to being a part of it as voted Homecoming king by his fellow Prescott High School students in late September. He may well be the first such exchange student to receive such honors at PHS.
“It was a lot of fun and I’m glad to have experienced all the traditions of it,” Rohr said. “It’s something I certainly didn’t expect so to wear the crown and lite the bonfire just made it more awesome.”
Rohr has been part of a lot both in and out of school. He’s participate on the football team and with basketball this winter. In the spring he plans on either playing baseball or running track. He’s also a member of the Prescott High School Band and has been playing trumpet since he was seven years old.
“I’m in the Christmas brass band at Joy Lutheran Church and I’m looking forward to playing in Christmas services,” Rohr said. “One of things I noticed about the different ways Christmas is celebrated in the U.S. compared to Germany is the lights. Many of the homes are lit up at night and it’s really beautiful. It’s a big difference from Germany. Also, we have a lot of Christmas trees up where I’m living and the presents are under them whereas in Germany, we go to church on the 24th, come home and then the presents are put out under the tree. Also, Santa Claus is much more celebrated here than in Germany, where the focus is on the Christ child and St. Nicholas.”
Rohr is in the U.S. on a special grant program which focuses on government and politics. Rohr visited Washington D.C. recently and experienced the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court buildings. He met with U.S. Senators, Congressmen and other government officials, particularly Third District Congressman Ron Kind, who is his legislative contact as part of the program living in the area Kind represents in Congress.
He also has to perform 100 hours of public service as part of the program. So, Rohr has taken up teaching Sunday school to fourth and fifth graders at Joy Lutheran and will take part in the church’s programs for the homeless as well.
Rohr admits he misses his family and the food in Germany but really appreciates how the Prescott community has made him feel welcome in the few months he’s been here.
“I’m very happy how everyone has made feel welcome,” Rohr said. “I found people to be very open-minded and very helpful. The Bernick family has been great to me, the staff here at school has helped me a lot too. It’s been super fun so far.”
Rohr said he’s looking forward to a trip to Iowa over the Holiday break and being a part of the PHS Band’s trip to Florida and Disney World this spring.
“Being an exchange student is a great way to learn a new language and experience a new culture,” Rohr said, “and it allows people here to know more about Germany.”
Rohr is one of two exchange students from Germany at PHS this school year. The other is Celina Von Bresinski.
|Jonathan Rohr from Germany is an exchange student at Prescott High School for the 2017-18 school year.|