GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WRIC) — A Glen Allen High School student is leading a lesson on persistence.
“This is the petition that I set up for the Jaguar family,” Brenna Fano said.
Over the past week, the 16-year-old junior has collected nearly 500 petition signatures in support of bringing a foreign exchange student to her school.
Brenna explains, “I know that I would love to have someone from a whole new part of the world come and live with me for 10 months and I’m sure that she would love it too.”
She and her mom started the process in the fall. They were matched with a 15-year-old girl from Germany.
Last week, Brenna’s mother says Principal Gwen Miller told her the student wasn’t welcome.
“The reason was an increase in enrollment and a decrease in funding,” Gayle Fano said.
8News reached out to Henrico County Schools for an explanation. And while we didn’t really get an answer, we did receive a copy of the district’s policy on foreign exchange students. Henrico schools accept them. In fact, there are two at another high school just a few miles away. It is up to the principal at each school to make the final call.
“When I first heard that, I thought that is so unfair,” Brenna said. “What is up with them that they get to have this amazing experience and Glen Allen doesn’t get to have that?”
She’s not giving up the fight. Brenna plans to keep on collecting signatures in the hopes of changing the principal’s mind.
“We’re just trying to show with this that the Jaguar family supports us in this and that no one in the Jaguar family is opposed to this,” she adds.
Her mom stands behind Brenna’s efforts.
“This is, I feel like what our school is teaching our children,” explains Gayle. “You know you may not agree with the answer but you can question it. You can go out and fight for something.”