by marlys good
During commencement exercises for the Greybull High School Class of 1975, one of the graduates receiving a diploma was a dark-eyed, dark-haired young lady from Brazil who had spent the school year as an exchange student at GHS.
Rita proved you can “go home again” last week when she came back to Greybull with husband Alisson, their daughters, Barbara, 20, and Rebeca, 16, and Rita’s niece Ana, 15, to visit her long-ago host family, Darwin and Cecil Yates and their four daughters, Billie, Sherrie, Debi and Darla.
After her year as an exchange student, Rita returned to Brazil and went on to obtain her college degree in mine engineering and her master’s degree in mineral technology. She specializes in iron ore; her job has taken her all over the world seeing new technologies/clients. She‘s been to China, Japan, Sweden, Australia, back to the United States, and to an iron research center in Columbia.
Rita gives a lot of credit for her success in the engineering field to time spent in Greybull as an exchange student where she became very proficient in the English language.
Rita’s daughters have followed in her footsteps; Barbara, who is studying to be a lawyer, spent a year as an exchange student in Sacramento, Calif., and Rita talked Barbara’s host family there into giving Rebeca (whose goal is to be a doctor) the same experience next year.
But in Greybull it was all fun, getting reacquainted, reminiscing, seeing friends she hasn’t seen in almost 40 years, showing Barbara and Rebeca what small town living is all about.
Rita was delighted to visit with Dede Copenhaver Wardell, the Yate “girls,” all grown up now, Bob Leach (her favorite teacher during her year at GHS), and Vicki Hart Collingwood at Big Horn Clinic in Basin.