The district is hosting 21 different foreign exchange students for the year. Including the international group, the high school instructs just 180 pupils.
The cross cultural experiment began as a way to boost the district's enrollment, according to John Davidson, the superintendent of the school. The school nearly fell below 350 students in K-12th grades, a decline that would have cost Lead Hill its accreditation. Davidson and other administrators convinced nearby families to host foreign exchange students to increase the student body to a manageable level.
"The hidden consequences have been so tremendous," Davidson said. "These 21 students have brought a whole different outlook to our school."
Many of the students come from big cities. One remarked, "It's really very different. I never walk, I never ride a bike."
Others are used to different customs. A Dutch student said she thought it was weird that Americans usually eat without a knife, choosing to cut many entrees with a fork.
"Our kids have blended together so much more and have learned to actually experience each other," Davidson said.
To find out more about the students, visit the school's website.
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