She just turned 17 last week.
She lives in the home she shares with her family — mom, dad, twin brother Tomas, a puppy and an older sister, the latter of whom she describes as “like a second mother.” Of her twin brother, she offers, “We’re very, very different.”
She has a big extended family too, that includes a grandpa and grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Anna loves hanging out with her family a lot — going shopping, eating meals together, spending time at home, going on vacation.
“We are very close,” she said. “Very, very close.”
Many of them were sad to see her leave for an entire year.
She shares her bedroom with her sister. She has never had a bedroom all to herself.
Potter (as in Harry Potter) is the name of the family’s dog, a golden retriever.
Anna also has a lot of friends.
She has friends from church.
She has friends from her basketball team.
She has friends from her school. Anna attends a science academy called Liceo Scientifico G. Aselli.
“I love this subject,” Anna said.
All her classmates love to spend time together, at the beach, going on basketball competitions, studying together in school — even though they are all quite different from each other.
Anna especially would like to be able to play basketball on a team while here.
“Basketball teaches you about life,” she said. On her Italian basketball team, she has affectionately earned the nickname “tick” because, once she guards her opponent, she can’t be shaken off.
Anna also has a boyfriend, Nicolo, who she is absolutely just crazy about. He may visit her here in the U.S. next year.
Anna wants to emulate her aunt and uncle whose love for one another is her model.
Anna is also a Rotarian.
And Anna lives in Italy — a world away — in a Northern Italian town called Cremona.
Yet, she is like any other Cleveland teenager and she’ll get the chance to show it in the coming year.
Anna is an exchange student who will be living with three Rotarian families while she attends Cleveland High School over the next 12 months.
Anna recently spoke to the assembled Sunrise Rotarians — in English that is good and getting better with every sentence — and told them about her life. She also showed them photos. And she explained how she came to be at the meeting that morning.
Currently, Anna is an exchange student staying with the Wright family — Dr. Tommy and Tracey Wright, and their two daughters. Around Thanksgiving, she will move in with the Word family and around March 2013, she will move in with the Fuller family. All are members of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary.
“She’s all our child while she’s here,” said Pat Fuller, president of the Sunrise Rotary.
So, when Anna turned 17 last week, her host family’s mom, Tracey Wright, baked her a big chocolate cake — “I love a lot of chocolate,” Anna said — and a pot roast dinner with macaroni and cheese.
“It made me feel at home,” she said.
“Grazie!” she said. “Thank you.”
She thanked the entire Rotary club “for the opportunity for this fantastic experience. ... Thank you so much.”
In other business:
— The Annual United Way Kick-Off Luncheon with guest speaker John Smoltz is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Walker Arena on the Lee University campus. The event is co-hosted by the Bradley Sunrise Rotary, the Cleveland Noonday Rotary and the Cleveland Kiwanis clubs. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. The program will begin at noon. Tickets are now available.
— Individual tickets for the Sunrise Sunset Gala are now available.
— The Sunrise Rotary is still looking for auction items for the Saturday, Aug. 25, Gala.