Reunion with family, class

Exchange student returns after 30 years

Exchange student returns after 30 years

September 14, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART


When Marcia Gyurkovits arrived at the Four Points Sheraton last weekend for her 30-year class reunion for South Hagerstown High School, there was little question that she had come a long way for the event - from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"About 83 of my classmates came back for the reunion. It was great," Gyurkovits said.

In 1974-75, Gyurkovits was an American Field Service (AFS) exchange student, spending her senior year at South High. She said it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

"When I was in school in Brazil, an American man came and talked to us about AFS," she said. "I took a very hard examination so I could go."


Then 18 years old, Gyurkovits said she learned that she would be coming to Hagerstown, a place she had never heard of before.

Her host parents in Hagerstown were Bill and Jan Dorsey, who lived in the Greenberry Hills area.

The Dorseys had three children: Sandra, who was in college and now lives in Michigan; Julie, who was nearest to Marcia's age; and Ed, who was 12.

One morning in the winter, Gyurkovits said she remembers being awakened by Ed Dorsey to see her first snowfall.

"We went outside in our pajamas and made snow angels ... ," she said.

Although she has been back to the United States several times, this was her first trip back to Hagerstown. She stayed with the Dorseys, who no longer live in Greenberry Hills.

During her weeklong stay, Gyurkovits was able to reacquaint herself with two of the Dorsey children, as well as her host parents - whom she still calls "Mom" and "Dad".

"I remember the first week she was living with us and we had a big rainstorm," Jan Dorsey said. "I remember handing Marcia a bucket and showing her how I wanted her to bail water, and she caught on."

The first AFS exchange student at South High, Gyurkovits was the first student the Dorseys hosted.

After graduation in 1975, Gyurkovits went home, where she earned degrees in business administration and law. She practices civil law in Sao Paulo, which has 16 million residents.

There are many things Gyurkovits said she will never forget, especially the hospitality and love she felt during her year here.

"I always call 'Mom' Dorsey on the telephone every Mother's Day," Gyurkovits said.

And she'll always remember an expression she learned from her Hagerstown mom: "Everyone smiles in the same language."

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