The parishioners of St. Francis DeSales Church will host a dinner-dance on Saturday in honor of several Hobart and William Smith students set to graduate this weekend.
May 10, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Two years ago, William Smith student Arisledidy Fuchu started attending the 12:30 Mass at St. Francis DeSales Church on Exchange Street. Fuchu and several Latina students, who will graduate from Hobart and William Smith Colleges this Sunday, said they enjoyed the Mass celebrated in their native tongue, Spanish. Since then Fuchu and about 10 HWS students have become regulars at the church, as well as within the Roman Catholic community in Geneva, staffing a church youth group, aiding in fund raising and more.
On Saturday, May 11, the parishioners of St. Francis Church will thank the students for their service and fellowship by hosting a dinner-dance in their honor at 6 p.m. at the VFW on North Street. The event is coordinated by Xochitl Palacios, regional Hispanic pastoral associate of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. Local families are expected to attend and present the students with awards.
Fuchu, of New York City, said she has enjoyed being part of the parish and working with the youth group, which has grown over the past few years. But she is most grateful for the fellowship that many families in the community have extended to her and other students by inviting them to dinner and providing a wonderful “home away from home.”
“Sometimes classes get to be too overbearing and we just need to get away from campus for a little bit. It is wonderful that so many people have opened their houses to us,” Fuchu said.
“Saturday’s dinner means they appreciate what we did for them and that they care for us. We call many of them Mom and Dad, and they are celebrating our goals. It is a warm and wonderful feeling to have them do this for us,” she said.
The Geneva community also has participated in many of the events these students have sponsored on campus through the Colleges’ student group, Latin American Organization (LAO). Many of the community members attend LAO’s annual Extravaganza celebration of Latin American culture.