Dreaming of the NBA? In Brazil (South America), that might mean the National Biscuit Association or Never Buy Apricots.
But to Diogo Vacconcelos of Volta Redonda, Brazil, it is does indeed mean the National Basketball Association, to which Diogo hopes, perhaps "prays," one day to join.
Diogo is an upbeat 15-year-old teenager from near Rio de Janeiro and he wants badly to visit the USA, live and attend school for a year -- or initially, at least, for a few weeks -- with a caring American family.
He'll arrive on our "shores" (at least those of the White River) Friday, Aug. 26 at the Indianapolis Airport.
Diogo is likely landing in the right spot, Indiana, the 'hotbed' of Hoosier Hysteria. Though no statistics of any early success in basketball are available. He claims it's his "favorite sport" and he "dreams one day of playing in the NBA."
He's not totally unfamiliar with America because his father commutes to Texas where he works for National Western Life Insurance Co. And his mother is practicing dentistry in Brazil. His sister is studying to be dentist and he "is still thinking about (his) career,' but he feels it will be something related to "oil engineeering" or "playing basketball in the NBA."
"Probably a six-foot shooting or point guard." I know this is not easy, but I am working hard," he adds.
Diogo seems to be well versed in what American teens enjoy.
"I like to go to parties, to the malls and meet friends; sometimes I like to stay home and relax, see a movie and eat popcorn. On weekdays I focus on school and sports."
His musical tastes range from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Eric Clapton, BB King, Bob Marley and Tupac.
"In my free time, I like to play video games, sometimes my PS3. I play online games and there are many Americans who play them too, so I practice my English there and make some friends. I am very excited about knowing what school life is like in the US and about improving my English."
Diogo is flying to America at the end of this week under the auspices of the Program of Academic Exchange (PAX).
It will be necessary for Diogo to live in the Greencastle or South Putnam school districts and to enroll at either district's high school, depending on their enrollment rules and regulations. Diogo could also entertain an invitation to live in Clay County and attend Northview High School or nearby schools in Clay County.
Host families are expected to provide guest students a bed of their own, plus breakfast and dinner (supper) meals. They bring their own spending money.
At least three other PAX foreign students already have found congenial homes with caring host family in Putnam County.
Jim and Jackie Dean of Cloverdale are hosting Yao "Bonnie" Ge, a student from near Beijing, China; Adam and Kristen Windmiller of Heritage Lake are hosting Susanne Schobert from Dresden, Germany, and Jerry and Elizabeth Suddarth of Heritage Lake are hosting Tomas Garma of Guadalupe, Mexico. These foreign students attend Cloverdale and North Putnam high schools.
Families who might like to have additional information about hosting a student this semester and/or next may call J. Patrick Aikman, PAX community coordinator, at 653-8504 before Friday.
Any person or group associated with a not-for-profit organization or charity may qualify for a $150 grant from PAX for assisting in placement of a student with a qualified host family in Putnam or Clay County.