SUPP: Four Nations, Under God

by Rachel Pledger '07

On Friday, August 4, the third annual Summer University Preparation Program (SUPP) held its closing banquet at Pomona Valley Mining Company. SUPP, sponsored by APU’s American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI), was a one-month program during which 25 students from Taiwan, Japan, and Argentina participated in an intensive American language and culture learning experience.

During their stay, the international students took English language classes, visited Southern California attractions, and built relationships. Some of the students were able to stay in the homes of APU students and staff. The students visited Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach, Hollywood, the Gene Autry Museum, downtown Los Angeles, and more.

American language and culture classes consisted of English reading, writing, speaking, listening, and, of course, the occasional baseball game, luau, and BBQ. "We read Huckleberry Finn. I love reading so it was very interesting for me," said Maura Olivera, a SUPP student and Escuela Cristiana Evangelica Argentina graduate. The learning also extended outside the classroom as students shared their diverse cultures with American hosts, faculty, and one another. It was apparent that language was no barrier for these students.

The month came to a close during the banquet on Friday night. Tamara Rouse '07, an International Center intern, loved getting to know the students. Thinking about their time together, she said, "I'm sad because they are leaving on Monday and we've been with them for a month. I'm going to miss them."

The banquet began with a fashion show and dinner, followed by a speech led by Michael Chamberlain, assistant director of ALCI, who served as master of ceremonies. He addressed attendees with a simple message: "One," he said with his index finger upheld, "We're here tonight not to honor ourselves; tonight number one means, thank God! Two, We want to say, congratulations! And three," with three fingers raised, "thank you! We've been very blessed you were all able to come."

He then led the group in a toast recognizing the people who made this year's program a success, including ALCI Director Sue Clark and program coordinator Miriam Escobedo.

Olga Boreito de Ciccone and Reverend Juan Carlos Ciccone, the principal and head chaplain of Escuela Cristiana Evangelica Argentina, were among the first honored. This was the first year SUPP had received students from South America. "A month ago we knew no one. Today, we feel like a big family. We know we have to leave, but we don't want to. We learned to love you because you loved us a lot," said Ciccone.