AFS student returns to PHS after 25 years


Erlinda Beebe and former AFS student Sisi Darmowasito pose near the Plymouth High School pool. -Submitted photo Erlinda Beebe and former AFS student Sisi Darmowasito pose near the Plymouth High School pool. -Submitted photo Sisi Darmowasito, an AFS student from Indonesia 25 years ago, was in Plymouth recently to reminisce and visit with her host family.

“When you step into the building, the memories come back,” she said of Plymouth High School.

She now has four children ranging in age from 2 to 11, and works in public relations in Indonesia. But during the 1987-88 school year, she stayed with the Russ and Erlinda Beebe family, one of three foreign exchange students that year.

She was in the girls choir and in the musical “42nd Street,” but it was her experiences on the girls swim team that stand out the most.

School sports weren’t common in Indonesia, but the AFS program then and now encourages visiting students to be involved in activities. So, she joined the swim team.

It wasn’t easy, with practices before and after school, and at one point she wanted to quit. But Coach Mike Slagle and her host family encouraged her to stick with it. She learned to try harder and ended up lettering. “I’m glad they pushed me,” she said.

She still remembers swimming the breaststroke during one meet in particular – and enjoying doughnuts at the last morning practice. From the team she learned courage, competition, teamwork and making friends.

“My years here changed how I see the world,” she said. “I wouldn’t be the same person I am now without Plymouth.”


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