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Raffenburg is on the go with host McCartys

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By Kristin Beck

Life at the McCarty house is ‘Go, Go, Go’ all the time. With three very active children—Josh, 15; Caleb, 14; and Hannah, 9— there is always something to do. “Our routine is very busy,” Magali McCarty said, acknowledging there is always a ball practice or a game for her and her husband, Anthony, to attend.

Adding one more child to the fold may seem like it would throw the balance into complete chaos. Instead, exchange student Leo Raffenberg fit right in. He has especially bonded with Josh, who shares an interest in playing soccer and tennis. The two played on the Carroll County High School soccer team in the fall and will play tennis together in the spring. Raffenberg said they do not have organized school sports teams in Germany, but he likes to play for fun with friends.

Raffenberg has also adopted a new favorite team: the Kentucky Wildcats.

“He always cheers for them,” McCarty said. “We can’t wait for March Madness to come and to fill out the brackets. We know he is going to really enjoy that.”

Raffenberg said he would like to go to a UK basketball game before the season is over. “I have actually never been to a stadium before,” he said, including at home in Germany.

McCarty said they were interested in hosting an exchange student because they are very curious about other cultures. The family is bi-lingual, speaking both English and Portuguese, as she is from Brazil, and their daughter is adopted from South Korea. “It’s been very interesting because we are as curious about [Leo’s] country as he is about ours.”

Raffenberg has shared numerous pictures with the McCartys from home and has described the markets, the food and the sports they play. McCarty said Brazil and Germany have both soccer and some foods in common including gnocci, which are potato noodles, and a version of Christmas bread. Raffenberg brought McCarty a cookbook of German recipes and a book all about Germany for her husband as gifts.

As a family, Raffenberg said they go to church every Sunday and will visit relatives in Lexington maybe twice a month. They also go to basketball and soccer games and eat out at restaurants, something he does not do regularly at home.

In addition to playing sports, Raffenberg also attended Winter Ball and was named fall homecoming prince of the junior class while at CCHS.

McCarty said they will probably be a host family again, possibly when their daughter is in high school so that she can experience the process with someone who has similar interests with her.
She said Raffenberg has fit so well into their family, it is hard to imagine how life was without him. “We’re going to miss him, that’s for sure.”