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Mohawk to see 60 Chinese students this summer

BUCKLAND — About 60 Chinese students are expected to visit the Mohawk Trail Regional School this summer for three-day summer school programs that will include academic classes, field trips and conversations about getting into American colleges, according to school Superintendent Michael Buoniconti.

Although program details are still being worked out, Buoniconti said school officials are planning for two groups of 30 students, who will come to Mohawk around the end of July.

Each student’s tuition, of about $130 per day, will generate about $23,000 — enough to pay for the summer program costs, the school principal’s trip to China this fall and for the educational consultant who has been putting Mohawk school officials into contact with their Chinese counterparts.

The program will include morning classes at Mohawk, followed by a variety of field trips in the afternoon, accompanied by adult chaperones and with recent Mohawk graduates. The students will be staying with local host families.

“One of the reasons these Chinese students are coming here is they’re interested in going to college here,” said Buoniconti. He said the recent school graduates will be able to share their college admission experience with this group.

Last year, the Mohawk School Committee hired Fox Intercultural Consulting for $6,000 to help the school district make connections with Chinese schools and to coordinate efforts to bring Chinese students to Mohawk for their senior year at Mohawk. School officials have been hoping to enroll up to five Chinese students a year to spend their senior year of high school at Mohawk. Each full-time student would pay about $30,000 per year for tuition, room and board.

In December, school officials were talking about hosting a summer program for 25 Chinese students — not 60.

In November, Mohawk School Principal Lynn Dole went to China for a week, meeting with education officials, touring schools and forming “sister school” partnerships with two Chinese high schools.

For several years, the Buoniconti and the Mohawk Regional School Committee have discussed seeking international students, as a way to broaden local students’ awareness of the world, offset enrollment decline and to bring revenue into the school district.

Mohawk students in grades 9 to 12 may go to China for a nine-day field trip in April 2015. The school board gave its approval last year, to allow enough time for fundraising and planning the trip.

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

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