Needing Students, Maine School Hunts in China

Abby Goodnough, New York Times, October 26, 2010

Faced with dropping enrollment and revenue, the high school in this remote Maine town has fixed on an unlikely source of salvation: Chinese teenagers.

Never mind that Millinocket is an hour’s drive from the nearest mall or movie theater, or that it gets an average 93 inches of snow a year. Kenneth Smith, the schools superintendent, is so certain that Chinese students will eventually arrive by the dozen–paying $27,000 a year in tuition, room and board–that he is scouting vacant properties to convert to dormitories.

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{snip} Millinocket {snip} is virtually all-white, though it has hosted traditional exchange students who come for a year without paying tuition.

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“We’re used to Stearns High School being a small hometown type of thing,” he said. “The fact that suddenly we might have up to hundreds of kids from China might change that–in a good way, but we’re also kind of scared to lose our town.”

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