NEW LEXINGTON — A small town was Felix Pelger’s world as he completed the past school year as a senior at New Lexington High School.
The culture and community of New Lexington gave Felix a year to remember as his host mother and community representative for Ayusa, Anna Fox, reflected on the time she had Felix in her home.
The 17-year-old from Pluwig, Germany took the year by the reigns and took every ounce of fun he could get.
Felix was a member of New Lexington’s track team and archery team, while also receiving a scholar athlete award and letter jacket.
Fox said he spoke about how New Lexington’s school spirit and community-like feeling made the town.
“He loved going to high school here,” Fox said. “We went to the freshman orientation for him to learn, and they had a pep rally, then he walked out and said it was amazing.”
In his European culture, school sports do not exist and school spirit is almost transparent, so his time as a Panther was a once-in-a-lifetime.
Upon arrival, Felix ran into some trouble with finding a place to stay.
He flew in with another German student, and after their three-day orientation in New York, they flew to Columbus where a family from Millersport picked up Felix.
Fox picked Felix up from the Millersport family, while also being responsible for a Japanese and Thai girl that same night.
“We were taking all three of them to Athens,” Fox said. “But right around the time Felix was arriving to his host home, his host mother became ill with a serious health condition.”
Fox said Felix stayed for one night in that home before calling his mother in Germany to inform her of his situation.
“He requested to come back to our house, and his parents contacted the agency, who contacted us,” she said. “They just asked if he could stay on a temporary basis, but my husband and I decided for him to stay the whole year.”
Fox had to set up an experience for Felix quickly, which proved to not be a problem as New Lexington High School told her any student living in the district could attend their school.
The students at New Lexington welcomed him and another German student with open arms.
Fox said Felix also began a relationship with a New Lexington student while in America.
“He went to Prom and Homecoming with her,” she said. “They are still together and she is planning to visit him soon.”
Although he lived in Perry County, Felix had the time and chance to explore so much more of the nation.
Fox said Felix had the Arnold Classic in Columbus on his bucket list, so they went there.
“We also drove him to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina,” Fox said. “His godfather lives in San Francisco, so he flew out there for three days to visit him. He saw coast-to-coast while he was here.”
With Columbus having German Village, Fox and her husband took him to visit the town, bringing about a familiar look for Felix.
They even took him to Oktoberfest in Columbus, although he has the real one in his home country.
“He was more interested in learning our culture though, not seeing his culture in our country,” Fox said.
With Felix’s girlfriend visiting him, he will also receive a visit from Fox and her husband, planned for late September to mid-October, and maybe they will bring Felix his favorite American food: pizza rolls and beef jerky.