The Times West Virginian

August 27, 2012

Busier than usual

Harvaths on the go with addition of exchange student

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — With two work schedules, three soccer schedules and one football schedule, the Harvath family of White Hall stays on its feet.

“We’re all pretty busy, to be honest,” Ruthie Harvath said.

Ruthie works at West Virginia University Hospital and does Home Health Casual for Fairmont General Hospital. Her husband Mark works at Allegheny Power and coaches the girls’ soccer team at East Fairmont High School.

With her job, Ruthie sometimes travels for training but mostly works eight-hour days. Mark also works eight-hour shifts at Allegheny Power, plus the hours he works during soccer season.

Along with their 14-year-old son Colin, the family has an exchange student, Kristin, who is 17 and from Norway, staying with them. Their older son, Nolan, plays soccer for the University of Southern Indiana and studies exercise physiology.

Colin attends EFHS. Ruthie Harvath said Colin is humorous and more outgoing than he used to be.

“He’s very innocent, yet he’s funny when he shows it,” Harvath said.

As a freshman, Colin plays soccer and football for EFHS and hopes to play basketball and track for the Bees as well. When school starts Colin’s schedule gets very busy.

“He goes to soccer about six days a week,” Harvath said. “And football, four to five days a week. He’s going to kick for the football team.”

In addition to getting Colin to practices, Ruthie and Mark have Kristin’s schedule to handle. Kristin is a senior at EFHS and plays soccer for the Bees and wants to run track in the spring.

Getting her to practice and games helps when Mark is the coach.

“We’ve been communicating on who needs to get who where,” Harvath said. “Mark generally takes Kristin with him and I’ll take Colin to football and Mark will pick him up.”

Having Kristin around has been pleasant.

“She’s been very helpful, very entertaining, a positive influence,” Harvath said.

Kristin has been with the family for about three weeks and will be staying until the end of the school year. She has adjusted to staying in America but Harvath said there was one incident where she was homesick.

“I have communication with her family through email, which has made it very helpful. With Skype being available, it’s been nice,” Harvath said.

Even though Kristin and Colin are not related, Harvath said they act like they are siblings.

“It’s almost like they’re siblings,” Harvath said. “You see them picking at each other.”

Being in a new country, new house and new school hasn’t stopped Kristin from being social.

“She’s already started to make friends,” Harvath said.

With so many schedules, the family is hopeful they can squeeze in a trip to Indiana to visit Nolan and attend one of his soccer games.

“We’re going to try and go up and visit him in the next couple weeks,” Harvath said. “And play a game of soccer between their schedules. It makes it hard with them both playing soccer at different times and Colin with football.”

Harvath said that before Kristin moved in with the family, they spent time with each other but not as much as she wanted. When Kristin came, they made it a point to sit down for dinner as often as possible.

She said they’ve explained the importance of family to Kristin.

“Family is what we focus on,” Harvath said. “She’s made us look at that as far as making the time to sit down and talk about what’s going on, what’s happened during the day at school.”

Email Emily Gallagher at or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.