Above photo: Kal, number 23, playing in the Scotland High School Homecoming Game
In so many ways December YES Student of the Month Kaloyan “Kal” Lozanov (YES 2018-2019, Bulgaria, hosted by ASSE, in Scotland, SD) is a wonderful representative of the YES program and his home country of Bulgaria. Those who think small towns have little to offer an exchange student have not met Kal, who is thriving this year in the small community of Scotland, SD.
Prior to coming on YES, Kal started an anti-bullying campaign at his school in Bulgaria. Kal was able to take his experience of being bullied as a child, due to his weight, and turn it in a positive direction by helping others. In South Dakota, Kal has joined with the new local sheriff, and together they are developing an anti-bullying campaign to present to the entire student body at ten nearby high schools in the new year. Kal has already logged in 112 volunteer hours. With a local charity, he worked on a haunted house project to raise funds for five local high schools to assist with laptops, sports gear, FFA, the honor society, and the band. Kal volunteers at the local assisted living center and helps feed rescue buffalo at a hunting lodge. He is also helping to frame a retreat center for families who have lost a child due to illness or congenital problems.
Kal has been accepted to serve as a page in the South Dakota legislature and will be part of the first cohort that includes exchange students. For an ASSE leadership shadowing project, Kal shadowed Sean Barrett, the owner of a local bowling alley that serves as a gathering place for food and entertainment. Mr. Barrett is also vice president of the city council, a founding member of the city’s rodeo club, and a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver. Kal said the shadowing experience taught him to “never give up on dreams, work hard, and be able to sacrifice an extra hour of sleep in order to succeed.” For his school senior project, Kal will continue to learn about small business from Mr. Barrett.
At Scotland High School, Kal made the A honor roll. His English teacher praised him, saying, “He is a great example to students as he is a hard worker and does not procrastinate. He is also friendly and a genuinely nice young man.” Kal is also branching out personally, participating in extracurricular activities that he has never tried before, including the school chorus, and playing on the school’s wrestling and football teams. His football coach, the school’s government and U.S. history teacher, said, “Kal is an incredibly organized person with an incredible work ethic. He has put in an amazing effort and I know he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do in life."
“I am having the time of my life,” Kal said. “I love school and all the people in it. They make me feel welcome and at home. It really is incredible how fast I have adjusted to the life here.”
Kal is making a difference in the lives of all he meets. From presenting about his country at his school and the community youth center during International Education Week (IEW), to helping his host family in whatever needs to be done around the house, Kal is an enthusiastic, inspiring example of a YES student.