The Mercer Island Sister City Association has awarded scholarships to two Mercer Island High School students toward a month-long visit in Thonon les Bains, France, Mercer Island"s sister city, this summer.

Audrey Miller and Shannon McKenzie, both juniors, will spend the month of July in Thonon les Bains in the home of families with girls of a similar age. They will experience life in a typical French family, improve their French skills and take part in summer activities in and around Thonon. Then their French counterparts will travel to America to spend the month of August with their new friends on Mercer Island.

This is the first-ever summer exchange sponsored by the Mercer Island Sister City Association, whose goal is to foster the ties of friendship between Mercer Island and Thonon les Bains. This summer marks the fifth anniversary of the founding of the sister city relationship between the two cities.

Miller, the daughter of Jerry and Anita Miller, enjoys playing clarinet and is in a community band. She runs crosscountry and enjoys downhill skiing. She has traveled to Japan and New Zealand with her family, but is excited about the opportunity to visit France to practice her French skills.

``I look forward to making lifelong friends while being an `ambassador' of Mercer Island and the U.S.A. while I'm in France,'' she said. ``I would also love to introduce a French student to my culture and share with her the life I live.''

McKenzie, the daughter of Kip and Debbie McKenzie, is a two-year letterman in swimming and water polo. She loves all types of music and plays piano, saxophone and steel drums. She has completed three years of French and is planning to take Advanced Placement French next year.

She has visited Italy twice and was frustrated by not being able to speak or understand the language. Now that she's studying French, it's become one of her favorite classes.

``The more I understand it, the more I want to learn,'' she said. ``I am excited to fine-tune my learning of this beautiful language.''

Mercer Island Sister City Association awards two scholarships

The Mercer Island Sister City Association will sponsor a two-week student exchange in 2006, with Mercer Island students traveling to Thonon in February, and the French students coming to Mercer Island in April. For more information about this trip or about the Mercer Island Sister City Association, call Jane Meyer Brahm, 232-0701, or e-mail

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