(From left) Former French exchange student Isabelle Roucoules, her daughter Marion, and niece Zoe Carriere visit the yearbook archive at Holtville High School on Feb. 18 to look back on Isabelle’s senior year at the school in 1983-84. | William Roller photo
HOLTVILLE — It is often said travel is an education and for one graduate of Holtville High School all the mileage she has logged has possibly earned her a master’s degree.
Roucoules, from the Lyon area of France, was an exchange student in the 1983-84
academic year when she graduated from Holtville High School that June. Anna
Ruiz, a Holtville native, was Roucoules’s host student and close friend and
followed with her own graduation in 1985.
the one who initiated the student exchange stay (in my family),” said Ruiz
during a tour of the high school campus on Feb. 18. “She’s like another
sister and everyone in my family adores her. She’s such a sweet person.”
through the gym and then the livestock pens, as well as the woodshop, Roucoules
marveled at the diversity of how the curriculum expanded since her studies there.
She explained how in France there are no extracurricular activities, just
by Progress Achieved
(school) changed a lot but for the better, but the city has stayed the
same,” said Roucoules. “I also came back in the ‘90s and it’s similar
to what I remembered. But now, the high school has improved really well. In
1984, they had the animal barns but I didn’t know what it was about. I was 17
and didn’t realize the livestock and agricultural programs were for student
education. But I feel like I’m coming back home.”
Ruiz met up with Roucoules in Las Vegas recently to welcome her back to the
states. They hiked the Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire State Park.
beautiful and we’ll be in San Diego tomorrow (Feb. 19) with another classmate,
Claudia Garcia, who will show us the sights,” said Roucoules. “I wanted to
show my daughter (Marion) and my niece (Zoe Carriere) the Holtville High
Hidden Local Treasure
also got to tour through the Holtville hot springs, an area east of the city
that draws numerous winter visitors.
liked it very much. It is very different from France,” said Marion.
“That is the kind of experience we could not ordinarily do …only with
connections in the area. We also went to Glamis and got to see the dune
Bolin is Anna Ruiz’s younger sister and was 13 in 1984. She recalled Roucoules
has returned to Holtville several times, accompanied by her husband, mother and
is a smart, smart girl,” said Bolin. “She speaks three languages. And
she loves to walk. We’ve often walked all over Holtville. She loves Mexican
culture, and the food, especially tamales.”
saw Roucoules two years ago and prior to that in 1996 when Ruiz was on active duty
in the Air Force and stationed in Hungary. She flew to Paris on leave and took
a train to the Lyon area to meet Roucoules.
her parents and then saw her husband and kids again,” she recalled.
“Seeing Isabelle again was so wonderful. She’s like an older sister and
everyone in my family treasures her. She is such a delightful person.”