Letter to the editor: Benefits of exchange students
Our perceptions of the world and of America's place in it have changed since Sept. 11, 2001. Those of us who are parents or grandparents, as well as those of us, who work with youth, ask ourselves, "What can we do to help our young people and the youth of countries around the world, to better understand and appreciate one another's differences and shared values?"
This question is particularly important during International Education Week, November 18-22, a joint initiative of the U. S. Department of State and Department of Education. Noting the value of international education, President Bush has said, "When students get to know each other, they learn the universality of many values. That's important for peace in the world."
During this important week, I would like to salute the efforts of our area high schools that are actively supporting cross-cultural learning. By welcoming exchange visitors, our schools are providing these foreign students with a unique opportunity to learn side-by-side with our American teens. At the same time, our own students have a chance to build friendships with boys and girls from around the world and, in a very personal way, learn about the culture and values of their homelands.
As the local representative of PAX-Program of Academic Exchange, I extend a sincere "thank you" to the staff of area high schools, which have hosted PAX students recently. Leavenworth High School hosted Janett from Germany, Lansing has hosted two PAX students: Nadja and Rossana, Pleasant Ridge High School hosted "Bike" and McLouth High School hosted Leige.
PAX students participate as fully enrolled students. They carry a full course load, are expected to maintain a C+ or better grade point average, and join sports teams and extracurricular activities. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments our PAX students have already made and look forward to learning and discovering as more students find homes for the upcoming school year.