Volcanic Ash Strands Exchange Students in DFW

By Susy Solis
|  Monday, Apr 19, 2010  |  Updated 9:45 AM CDT
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Volcanic Ash Strands Exchange Students in DFW

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Volcanic Ash Strands Exchange Students in DFW

Students from Normany, France, are stranded in DFW due to the volcano in Iceland.
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They had enjoyed their trip to America. More than two dozen 14- and 15-year-old French exchange students loved McDonald's and "the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the Six Flags," but many were ready to go back home after two weeks in Texas

They, like millions of travelers around the world, were turned away the airport due to the volcanic ash spewed from a volcano in Iceland.

"The lady told me we could not check in," said Cyril Doussant, one of three teachers from Le College Balzac in Alencon, Normandy, France. "There would be no plane because of a volcano eruption in Iceland, so I asked her repeat, to make sure I got it right."

Doussant was told he would have to find accomodations. He and two teachers brought 27 students to Texas as part of a foreign exchange program.

"We've been videoconferencing with them for the past 10 years," said David Hardy, a French teacher at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton.

Doussaint called Hardy in a panic and some stranded students were upset.

"It was hard to see all these girls crying, saying, 'We're homesick.' Many had plans because it was the last weekend of holiday in France," Doussaint said.

Students from Hardy's class stepped in when they heard the news.

"We started writing down names of previous hosts and called them to see if they could host again," said J.J. Echaniz, a sophmore in Hardy's French class. Within an hour, all 27 students and three teachers had homes in which to stay.

"We're grateful to all the host families. They've been so nice," said Doussaint.

"It's a true testament to Texas hospitality," Hardy said.

It didn't go unnoticed.

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