Exchange student attends Notre Dame during three-month stay
By Lisa Soileaux
RAYNE - Danny and Lisa Mooney of Rayne are enjoying a new member of their family for three months, Diego Valdes, one of four exchange students residing in Acadia Parish as part of the Catholic Exchange Student Program made possible through the Lafayette Diocese.
“We just love having him here,” stated Lisa of the new member of her family’s household. “He has been a pleasure to have in our home and has fit right in.”
While residing at the Mooney home in Rayne, the 17-year-old senior of Guatamala is attending class at Notre Dame High School of Acadia Parish in Crowley.
While at Notre Dame, Diego became a member of the Pios’ football team where he practiced his kicking game.
“That was fun,” Diego noted when speaking of his time as a Pioneer. “It was very exciting to be a member of the team -- football is big here,” he added along with Jacob, the Mooney’s son who is also a ND senior.
Diego’s studies have been good so far, except when you speak of civics, a subject he has to study a little more as he notes it’s the hardest of his studies.
Diego is one of three students attending Notre Dame for a two-month stay in association with the exchange program, in addition to one attending Rayne Catholic Elementary.
The main difference of high school for the senior is the lighter class load. “We have many more classes at home than you do here,” Diego stated when discussing school. “We have up to 11 classes in one day with a few breaks -- way different than here.”
Another difference he noted is food. “The size of food is much different,” he commented when explaining the larger portions that are served in the United States. That difference has also made an adjustment in Diego’s clothes size as he has gained weight since residing here in Cajun country.
“We have enjoyed having him here,” stated Danny prior to a ping pong game the guys had planned with guests. “Socially, he fit right in, is easy going, and even had the girls looking his way.”
During his stay, Diego enjoyed his first hunting and fishing trips with Danny. “He did pretty good and enjoyed whatever activity we had on the schedule. We just loved having him here as part of our family.”
Diego is the only boy in his family which includes three sisters. He was welcomed by a new sister, LeaAnne, the Mooney’s daughter.
“Everyone has welcome me so nicely,” Diego comments on his visit. “I really appreciate everyone being so nice to me.”
Diego’s visit was made possible through the Catholic Exchange Student Program between Guatamala and the United States. For more information or questions of the program, visit www.catholicstudentexchange.org.
Diego completes his three-month stay on Jan. 10th and will enjoy a south-central Louisiana Christmas with the Mooney family.