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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kyle Vuille photo

Foreign exchange student returns to Glendive after 45 years

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The highlight of Tuesday’s night Glendive City Council meeting was a special report given by Maria Azevedo, a resident of Brazil who was an exchange student at Dawson County High School for six months in 1972. Azevedo was in Glendive to attend the All 70s Class Reunion over Labor Day weekend.

Azevedo gave a special presentation about her hometown of Fortaleza, Brazil which sits in the Northeastern part of the country. The presentation included the town’s major exports and important places, parks, schools and tourist attractions. She then extended her welcome to anyone who would be interested in visiting the Brazilian city just as Glendive had welcomed her many years ago.

Debbie Erhardt (her then maiden name) was the daughter of Azevedo’s host family in Glendive in 1972 and accompanied Azevedo to Tuesday night’s meeting.

In 2014, Debbie went to Brazil and met Maria’s husband, daughter and mother.

Azevedo lived in Glendive from January 1972 to June 1972.

The two were both 17-year-old juniors at DCHS in 1972. Azevedo was a part of a six month exchange student program called “Youth for Understanding.”

Erhardt remembered Azevedo getting off the airplane in Bismarck in -20 degree weather wearing a sun dress. Debbie’s mother, Helen Erhardt, immediately took young Maria to the JCPenney’s in Glendive and bought her a winter coat and boots.

“I’d never seen snow, just in the movies,” Azevedo said.

Maria and Debbie also remember going to the prom in Beach, N.D. that year because there was another Brazilian exchange student in Beach at the time.

Azevedo said what she remembers most from her time in Glendive were Helen Erhardt’s cinnamon rolls after school.

“We would get home from school and the counter would be lined with cinnamon rolls,” Azevedo said. “I was a good girl and only ate one or two of them.”

Azevedo mentioned she gained 22 pounds in the six months she was here.

Azevedo went to medical school and now teaches at the school of medicine at a university in Brazil. She specializes in genetic counseling.


Reach Kyle Vuille at

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