Mengel participated in an exchange program set up by the Rotary Club. The Roswell Rotary Club chose Mengel to have a chance to visit Argentina, live with the president of the Rotary Clubs in Pilar, Argentina, and observe how students and schools in Argentina are both similar and different than schools here.
“What I was touched with every place I went is the respect and the love that they have for you guys,” she told the Roswell Rotary Club. “They weren’t being sweet to me because of me. They don’t even know me. But they were being sweet to me and giving me the red carpet because of you.”
Roswell Rotary has worked with the club in Pilar in several different projects. Pilar Rotary helped raise funds for The Drake House in Roswell several years ago and Roswell will be hosting an exchange teacher from Argentina in February.
“[The teacher exchange program] combines the educational passion of this club with the international scope of Rotary,” said Roswell Rotarian Lee Hollingsworth.
Mengel said she was able to see different schools – public and private; rich and poor – and she saw how the students there are very similar to the students here.
“When I went into the classrooms I think what struck me was that these were just like Roswell kids,” she said. “They’ve got their cell phones out when they’re not supposed to, they’re talking when the teacher’s not looking, but bottom line is they’re just lovely little kids.”
Mengel said she is thankful she was chosen for this opportunity and has been able to apply her real life experience to her teaching, giving examples of her time in Argentina as illustrations for her students.
“This program of having somebody go and represent you over there, I think it’s very special,” she said. “This is something that I’m going to remember for years and years.”