Simone Tritean reached for a tissue Friday while listening to those who accompanied her on a trip from Romania as they sat around a table at Mesa’s East Valley Institute of Technology.
“I just realized how lucky I am,” the 17-year-old said, wiping her eyes.
She soon had to pass the tissues back to Maria Ozunu, director of the technical high school she attends in Turda, a town in the Transylvania region of Romania.
They then had to send the packet across the table to Sally Downey, superintendent of EVIT, a careertechnical school attended by students from across the East Valley.
Downey had visited the Romanian school last summer and met with Indrei Raitu, a former Scottsdale resident who had returned to his homeland after years in exile. While he had been away, the school had been built and named after his grandfather.
Ozunu wanted to see for herself EVIT’s state-of-theart facilities, which Raitu had described to her, along with the business partnerships that help make them a reality.
“We are not of the same mentality,” Ozunu said. “Before I thought we had good relationships in Romania, but we are so far . . . I understand Indrei now.”
Also in the Romanian delegation were Flavio Pamfilie, a physical education teacher at the school; Marius Pop, 16, a student at the school; and Maria Simui, school inspector for the district, or state, the school is in.
Ozunu said the group’s members hope to bring home several concepts and principles they witnessed at EVIT.
“The role of the community, the quality of the teachers and students, and equipment and materials, and the staff, they’re very open and flexible here,” Ozunu said.
EVIT staffers and their families hosted the Romanian visitors, giving them the chance to see American home life up close. They departed for home Sunday morning.