A new weekly segment coming to the Marshfield Mail will feature and Athlete or Scholar of the week from around the County.
This week’s athlete and scholar is Pakorn Kanprasertkit aka Sun, a foreign exchange student from Thailand currently enrolled in Fordland.
Sun, who is 15 years old, is currently staying with his host parents, Donna and David Schmitz. “I’m from Thailand. When I was 7 or 8 I was thinking I wanted to come to America. I tried to find my way to come to America,” shared Sun with laughter. “I saw the exchange program and I thought that would be neat for me. I applied for that and got in. Donna picked me.”
Sun arrived to America in mid August and will be staying until the end of May when school ends.
“I play left wing (on the basketball team),” shared Sun. At home, Sun did not play on a basketball team. “It’s good. I never practiced basketball like this before. The coach is very good and my teammates are really nice to me too. When I make the basket, when I got the three point, they just shouted my name.”
“I am a sport person. The school (Fordland) always support you. They give you jersey, travel gear, rides for the bus, practice shirts-everything is like, they always support you. In Thailand it’s kind of like by yourself,” reflected Sun.
At home, there is a basketball team but Sun is a soccer player at heart. “I had a chance to play another sport…Fordland doesn’t have a soccer team. I’ve played soccer since I was 5. Sometimes I use the basketball court for soccer ball.” In addition to playing basketball, Sun is also in Art Club and BETA Club.
“I picked the class for Math. I was moved from Algebra 2 to pre-cal but I didn’t have the good grades,” shared Sun regarding academics. “I am going to change (to Algebra 2)…I want to make all A’s. When I get back to my country I still need to use this grades so I better make a good grade.”
“I am going to go to college,” shared Sun. “He wants to be a pilot,” added Donna. To help Sun visualize his dream, Donna took Sun for a flying lesson, “I watched him take off and fly around for an hour. He landed the plane.”
In addition, Sun has been able to visit Silver Dollar City, shoot skeet, hang out with members of the Schmitz family and is learning out to bottle feed a calf and take care of goats.
Hosting a foreign exchange student is relatively knew for the Schmitz family. “Two years ago we had (two students), we had them for five months. That was our first time,” reflected Donna. “This is our second time. It’s still new. My husband and I look at it as a way to give these kids an opportunity to come to the United States.”
Despite being away from home, Sun is able to call his family a couple times of week, “I think I’m doing ok.”
“It’s kind of a big difference, I was living the city life. Fordland is kind of like in the middle of no where,” laughed Sun. “Its good-it’s a good experience.”
Sun plans to go to college in Thailand but does have plans to come back to the United States in the future. “I will come back to the US for the World Cup 2026,” laughed Sun.
When Sun goes home he says he will miss the host dogs and the experience, but the thing he will miss the most?
“Dr. Pepper. I love Dr. Pepper.”
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