(Tahlequah, Okla.)--In preparation for their transition to Tahlequah Public Schools, a group of middle-school-age Chinese students has been on the campus of Northeastern State University receiving an intensive course in English.
NSU graduate student Elaina Ross has taught the language to the 12 students at NSU's John Vaughan Library since July 16. The classes ended August 10.
On August 7, NSU president Steve Turner visited with the students in a conference room of the Administration building. Attending were representatives of Tahlequah Public Schools, NSU's Office of International Programs and the students' chaperone Xiaomei Zhang.
"Northeastern began as an institution that was educating women before the U.S. Civil War," Turner told the students. "This is a special place that has long committed itself to educating young people. Your visit is an extension of that commitment. We are honored that you are here."
During the meeting, Turner asked questions of the students and took queries from them – the discussion covered topics such as favorite foods, sports, music and local attractions. He presented each a gift bag of NSU memorabilia.
The students were invited to Tahlequah and had their visas arranged by NSU. They are living in campus housing, but will move in with host families and attend Tahlequah Middle School as exchange students until mid-October.
"In only about a week, Tahlequah Public Schools found seven homes and families where these 12 students can stay," said Lisa Presley interim TPS president. "They will be enrolled in eighth grade at TMS just as any local student, and participate in much the same activities."
DeAnn Mashburn, TMS principal, said each Chinese student will take the standard core courses in math, science, social studies and language arts, and have a choice of two electives.
"In the mornings we will have them attend a library media course together and meet with their teachers," Mashburn said. "We will probably Skype so they can communicate with home. Because of the time difference, the TMS library media specialist will video actions at the school and put them on YouTube, and ask their families and friends to do the same."
Presley said the Chinese students attending TPS was not much different from any other foreign exchange program.
"We are so excited about the experience and our students will benefit greatly from it," she said.
For more information call the NSU Office of International Programs at 918-444-2050.
Published: 8/14/2012 10:14:10 AM