Sports

Brazilian exchange student making most of time as Lady Eagle

Manuella Melo -
Manuella Melo
— image credit:

ARLINGTON Bem-vindo a Arlington Manuella Melo. Welcome to Arlington in Brazilian exchange student Manuella Melos native Portuguese.
The 15-year-old is living her moms dream despite being thousands of miles from home. Melo is a 5-foot-6-inch senior and arrived in Arlington in early August. She will return to her native land after receiving her AHS diploma in June, 2007.
It [being an exchange student] was my moms dream, but she didnt have the opportunity, Melo said. I like to learn English and try something new in life, the friendly teen said with a smile.
The multi-talented teen is residing with host parents Kevin Hughes and his wife Susan Schleusner, in Arlington. Melo has been a great addition to their family.
She has been with us for eight weeks now and she just keeps surprising us with her great sportsmanship, academic performance, musical abilities and perseverance, Hughes said.
Despite having taken a volleyball class for eight years at home, the middle blocker for the varsity Lady Eagles volleyball team blushed upon being asked her favorite part of being on the team.
I love the team feeling, the competition and the student-crowd involvement, she said sheepishly. Overall, I am still learning. There is a lot to learn in volleyball.
The older sibling to a nine-year-old sister, Melo was first introduced to the U.S. at the age of five when her family toured Disney World along with Miami.
She joined Hughes and Schleusner to Santa Barbara, Calif., on a five-day visit to watch Hughes son graduate from college and the three said they would most likely explore more of the U.S. before all is said and done.
The couple, which each have a grown son from previous relationships, said they have a strong interest in the Brazilian culture.
There was a high interest in Brazil and an interest in spending some months there in the future, Schleusner said on behalf of she and her husband. And we have never had a daughter.
Hughes said he has been learning Portuguese through compact discs and has been able to practice his skills with Melo.
One of the benefits of living in the 21st century is that Melo is able to communicate with her mom via instant message on the computer about once a month and see each other on her host parents Webcam.
Not to be one-dimensional, Melo said she has also tried her hand at soccer, a little bit of basketball and handball in addition to volleyball.
Joking that handball is not that big of a sport in her native country, her eyes lit up when talking about her favorite soccer team the Sao Paulo Futebol Clube, otherwise known as the Sao Paulo FC or merely Sao Paulo.
Melo has never been to a game, but said it continues to be a dream of hers.
In the classroom, Melo said her favorite class thus far is mathematics and she also enjoys her choir class.
In Brazil we dont have this type (choir) of class, she said. Back in her hometown of Fortaleza she sings back-up vocals in a band with friends.
I sing at my school and they just saw me and invited me to do shows there at school, but they are only for fun.
Hughes said his exchange daughter has been practicing her guitar skills with his guitar, which is partially how he and his wife selected the likable teen.
She has a song she has done on digital mp3 with her band back in Brazil, Hughes said.
The affable teen has made a favorable and positive impression on her teammates, coaches and classmates alike.
Manuella, with the teams support, is making the 2006 Eagle volleyball season an unforgettable experience for all, coach Kim Anderson said of her exchange student.
Her sparkling smile, positive outlook on life and dedication to learning and experiencing everything she can has encouraged not only me when I have been feeling down or frustrated, but others as well. I think she shows us all how to appreciate and enjoy everything we do.
Melo said her yearlong goal while a Lady Eagle is rather simple.
I just want to learn, have fun, make friends and get better at my spoken English, she said in her near-perfect second language.
Regarding her future back in Fortaleza, Brazil, the countrys fifth-largest city in the northeast corner, the B-student said she plans to attend college but remains undecided.
Whatever one I can get into, but hopefully not an easy one, she said with a radiating smile.
Miami, Florida areas.
She joined Hughes and Schleusner to Santa Barbara, Calif., on a five-day visit to watch Hughes son graduate from college and the three said they would most likely explore more of the U.S. before all is said and done.
The couple, which each have a grown son from previous relationships, said they have a strong interest in the Brazilian culture.
There was a high interest in Brazil and an interest in spending some months there in the future, Schleusner said on behalf of her and her husband. And we have never had a daughter.
Hughes said he has been learning Portuguese through compact discs and has been able to practice his skills with Melo.
One of the benefits of living in the 21st century is that Melo is able to communicate with her mom via instant message on the computer about once a month and see each other on her host parents webcam.
Not to be one-dimensional, Melo said she has also tried her hand at soccer, a little bit of basketball and handball in addition to volleyball.
Joking that handball is not that big of a sport in her native country, her eyes lit up when talking about her favorite soccer team the Sao Paulo Futebol Clube, otherwise known as the Sao Paulo FC or merely Sao Paulo.
Melo has never been to a game, but said it continues to be a dream of hers.
In the classroom, Melo said her favorite class thus far is mathematics and she also enjoys her choir class.
In Brazil we dont have this type (choir) of class, she said. Back in her hometown of Fortaleza she sings back-up vocals in a band with friends.
I sing at my school and they just saw me and invited me to do shows there at school, but they are for fun only.
Hughes said his exchange daughter has been practicing her guitar skills with his guitar, which is partially how he and his wife selected the likable teen.
She has a song she has done on digital mp3 with her band back in Brazil, Hughes said.
The affable teen has made a favorable and positive impression on her teammates, coaches and classmates alike.
Manuella, with the teams support, is making the 2006 Eagle volleyball season an unforgettable experience for all, coach Kim Anderson said of her exchange student of the game.
Her sparkling smile, positive outlook on life and dedication to learning and experiencing everything she can has encouraged not only me when I have been feeling down or frustrated, but others as well. I think she shows us all how to appreciate and enjoy everything we do.
Melo said her yearlong goal while a Lady Eagle is rather simple.
I just want to learn, have fun, make friends and get better at my spoken English, she said in her near-perfect second language.
Regarding her future back in Fortaleza, Brazil, the countrys fifth-largest city in the northeast corner, the B-student said she plans to attend college but remains undecided.
Whatever one I can get into, but hopefully not an easy one, she said with a radiating smile.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jul 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.