GRAVENHURST — Rotarians said au revoir to their youth exchange student Sunday.

But not until after lone last ski on Kahshe Lake with member John Cooper.

Axel Guggino flew out yesterday, back home to Grenoble, France, after 10 months living with four Rotary families.

Axel Guggino said au revoir and Denise and John Cooper said bon voyage and bon chance last Tuesday at Gull Lake Rotary Park.

The club’s annual student program saw him attend classes at Gravenhurst High School and explore Canadian life as part of Rotary International’s 2019 theme — Rotary Connects the World.

The 17-year-old, who grew up while here — in height and new knowledge — is returning to finish his final two years of high school.

In a recent exit address to club members, he said he has new insight on himself that will guide his future in education and life, which is still unfolding in exciting, unexplored ways.

He said Canada opened new doors for him through numerous day-trips throughout Ontario with local Rotarians; and with other Rotary exchanges students from all over the summer the past year at Rotary conferences.

Rotarians thanked him (“Merci”) for his visit and wished him bon voyage and “Bonne chance” at a club picnic at their Rotary Gull Lake Park gazebo last Tuesday evening.

Incoming president MaryAnne Marshall and Mary Cook (both family hosts) drove him to Toronto’s international airport and reported at the club’s new meeting space at the United Church Monday that they were all sad to say good-bye to each other.

Guggino, whose father visited him in Gravenhurst during his year, said he plans to return one day to visit again.

Using up every opportunity he could to experience life in Canada, Axel Guggino got up on skis his final weekend in Gravenhurst.
Axel Guggino’s flight to France Sunday was one last chance to share time with his new Canadian friends. Seeing him off at Pearson Airport were, clockwise bottom left, MaryAnne Marshall, his friend Diego, and Mary Cook.