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Mohawk to host 28 Chinese students for summer programs

BUCKLAND — A group of 21 Chinese middle-school students and a second group of seven high school students will be getting their first taste of American education this month at the Mohawk Trail Regional School.

Teacher Ivan Grail, a co-coordinator of the China summer program, said the younger students and their two teacher-chaperones will spend four nights and three classroom days in the school district from July 21 through July 25. The high school students and two teacher-chaperones will be here July 28 through Aug. 1.

Grail said the mornings at Mohawk will be spent on science classes taught by Samantha Lydiard, “with hands-on science activities that take advantage of our beautiful campus.” The second class of the morning will be social studies, taught by Grail and program co-coordinator Bobby Storey. The social studies-based curriculum will focus on American cultural norms, Grail said. The Chinese students will be joined in these classes and the afternoon field trips by Mohawk students who have volunteered to participate.

During the afternoons, students will get soccer instruction from the Mohawk soccer team, hike to the High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne, visit the DAR (Daughters of the Revolution) State Forest in Goshen and visit the Smith College and University of Massachusetts Amherst campuses.

Mohawk started a school partnership with two Chinese “sister schools” as part of its initiative to attract tuition-paying Chinese students to Mohawk, boosting both school revenues and broadening students’ cultural horizons. The purpose of this pilot summer program is to give the Chinese students a sample of the school and its environment, so they can decide if they want to come back as a full-time tuition student during their senior high school year. More Chinese students are coming to U.S. high schools, so that they are better prepared to apply and gain admission to American colleges.

The district had expected receiving 60 Chinese students this summer, but Superintendent Michael Buoniconti said the smaller enrollment may be helpful, considering this is the first time Mohawk has held such a summer program. He said he is encouraged that the bulk of the students are middle school-aged, because they might be interested in Mohawk’s “two plus one” program, which is being developed. This program would offer Mohawk-bound Chinese students two years of Mohawk’s curriculum within their native high school, to prepare them for their final year, to be spent at Mohawk. Eventually, it’s possible that Mohawk teachers would travel to China to teach their Mohawk curriculum in that program.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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