International Student Program Adds Zest to School Life

Keene Central International Students with Host family siblings

Keene Central International Students with Host Family Siblings

Keene Central School has inaugurated an international students program with the help of the High Peaks Education Foundation (HPEF), which entrusts its endowment to ACT.  The international student program has brought six high school students to study in Keene for the 2012-2013 school year.  The program needed a grant from HPEF to get started, but it has already become self-sustaining.  Each international student pays tuition, which covers the costs of academics, including English-as-a-Second-Language support.  Each lives with a local family that has at least one child at Keene Central School.  A small stipend from the program fee helps the host family with expenses.

The impact that this program is having on this school of 160 students, K-12, is profound. High school students speak of the value of having a different perspective in the classroom, especially classes like American History and Government. “I wish we had this program sooner,” said one senior. Many echo similar sentiments, highlighting the importance of diversity and the impact it will have on them when they leave Keene. Host families are just as enthusiastic:  “I don’t think we will be able to let Inigo go back home; he is such a great kid,” said Debra Whitson. 

The international students are happy with the program, as well. Inigo Azcona of Madrid remarked, “the people surprised me. Keene is like a family, a big family. I want to have my best year in the USA.”  SeokJae Hong of South Korea appreciates that “everyone has computers and all the people are nice.”  The international students for 2012-2013 are from Brazil, Norway, Taiwan, Vietnam, Spain and South Korea.  The High Peaks Education Foundation hopes this program will continue to foster cultural diversity in Keene and give the international students a glimpse into a wonderful community nestled in the mountains. 

This is just one of the programs HPEF has engaged in to enhance the quality of education at Keene Central School.  To learn more, visit their website www.highpeaksed.org