D.C. Teenager Has Soviet Adventure

Hilary Frank is no stranger to other countries, having visited Europe, Africa and Mexico during travels with her family. But the Cleveland Park 14-year-old says she had her "most significant" overseas adventure of all this summer, when she spent 5 1/2 weeks living with a Soviet family in their tiny apartment in the heart of Moscow.

Hilary, a sophomore at Sidwell Friends School in the District, was one of 24 high school students from across the country who visited the Soviet Union as part of the Youth for Understanding International Exchange program.

The teenager had just six hours of language training before she left for Moscow, enough to give her a basic understanding of the Russian alphabet. Her lack of fluency posed no problem with her Soviet "mother," Marina Saenova, a college professor who spoke English. But communicating with her "father," Tolia Saenova, and the family's two children was more difficult.

Hilary said her favorite moments were those spent with her "sister," Kcenya (pronounced Kaseena), who also is 14. "I really enjoyed going to the park or just walking down the street with her. I would smile, because nobody smiles on the streets, or whistle. I liked people noticing that I was different."

Youth for Understanding, dedicated to world peace, operates under the premise that understanding between different peoples is achieved when they get to know about each others' lives.

The experience left Hilary with a desire to return to the Soviet Union.

"I'd like to go back in about five years to see how things have changed, how my family has changed -- how I've changed," she said.

But it won't be that long until she sees Kcenya again. Kcenya is now living with a family in Oakton and attending high school there under the same program.

New Director for Ballet

The Washington Ballet has a new director of development.Marcia Webb recently joined the Washington Ballet after serving as executive director of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training in Jupiter, Fla. She previously worked with several companies, and was director of development, marketing and public relations for the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach.

Locally, Webb served as director of development for the Washington Performing Arts Society and for the Filene Center at Wolf Trap.

Webb said she hopes "to continue the efforts that everyone has put forward in order to achieve the artistic status of the Washington Ballet."

The ballet opens at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 16.

Toastmaster Honored

Fran Gedra, a member of the local Toastmasters organization who lives in Adams-Morgan, has been chosen area governor of the year for the group and elected division lieutenant governor for the National Capitol District 27.

Gedra was selected for the honors based on her achievements in Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging its members to improve their public speaking.

Gedra, who works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has served as area governor of the division and won first place in the area governor "speakoff" competition.

Cancer Society Election

Peter Petrucci, a District surgeon and medical professor, has been elected president of the American Cancer Society's District of Columbia Division for the 1990-1991 year.

Petrucci has been a volunteer with the society since 1976, and has served as co-chairman of the division's colon and rectum cancer task force, helping establish a program to provide free home tests and lab evaluations for early detection of these forms of the disease.

He joined the division's board of trustees in 1978 and its executive commission in 1983, and has served as chairman of the Professional Education Committee and the Cancer Aid Plan Committee, which provides financial assistance to cancer patients.

Petrucci is clinical associate professor of surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, and is a general surgeon with Foxhall Surgical Associates.