The summer is winding down and the new school year is upon us. As students return to Storm King, one SKS junior has traveled to a destination much farther from home. Olivia O’Blaney ’21 has been selected for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) scholarship, which funds an academic year of high school study and cultural immersion in Germany for a select group of American students.


Created in 1983 during the Reagan Administration, the CBYX program is a symbol of the special economic and political relationship between America and Germany designed to strengthen US-German relations and forge lasting ties of deeper understanding. The program is funded jointly by the US Congress and the German Bundestag.


Olivia is one of only 250 students nationwide to receive this prestigious scholarship. She will be spending the 2019-20 academic year living with a German host family and attending a local high school in Germany.


Tanestrran ’19 and Olivia’22


Olivia was selected for her demonstrated academic qualifications, cultural open-mindedness, and outstanding motivation. While overseas, Olivia will serve as a “youth ambassador,” representing the United States while she participates in various educational, cultural, and civic events. Past participants have had opportunities to meet with the President of the German Bundestag, as well as leaders of the Bundestag and members of the US Congress.


According to Olivia, this wonderful opportunity is a natural progression of her time spent at Storm King. “My experience at SKS will benefit me a lot during my travel abroad. I have so many friends from all over the world already due to Storm King’s diversity, which has taught me how to understand and interact with people from different cultures and led me to become a more open-minded person,” explains Olivia.


Olivia, who is known at SKS for her outgoing nature and talents in music and theater, is ecstatic about her upcoming trip. “I am so excited to be able to fully immerse myself in a different culture and learn how the ideologies of the United States of America compare and contrast with Germany’s ideologies,” continues Olivia. “I believe this experience will help me to become a worldlier individual, as well as a better problem-solver through all the trials and tribulations I will have to face.”  Best wishes to Olivia during her year abroad and her return to SKS as a senior.


The cast of Mamma Mia!: left to right Asia ’19, Morgan ’20, and Olivia ’22