International students changing makeup of high schoolsBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite World Review
The students must meet English proficiency standards to enroll. They take the same core curriculum as traditional students, though they can take an English as a second language Bible class.
They live in dorms on campus, but with the rapid increase expected next academic year, some will begin living with host families, most of whom are Mennonite and currently have students at Western.
“I think our vision has changed from being just a Mennonite school that focused on discipleship to where we also see ourselves as being mission-minded for our students,” Gilliam said.
An international program has been part of the mission of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., since the 1970s. First a handful of students came from Africa. Then in the 1980s the school included students from Hong Kong and in the ’90s China.
Today, of the 300 students in grades 7-12, 66 are international, including nine who are enrolled for just one year. Next year the school expects 310 total students, 65-70 international.
“We try to keep international students at 20 percent of our school,” said Tom Bileski, director of community relations. “That is to keep the climate and flavor of the school, and we can give [the international students] good opportunities to meet Canadian students.”
The international students, who live with host families, are primarily from China, Japan and South Korea, with growth coming from Thailand.
“One of the four pillars of education at Rockway is to create globally minded citizens … and that happens by bringing students here, but we also travel,” Bileski said.
Canadian students in grade 12 can spend three weeks at Rockway’s sister school in China. Recent graduates can go teach for four months.
Former Rockway principal Bert Lobe, who is now North America representative for Mennonite World Conference, believes “exchange programs at their best are the most creative peace initiatives.
Comment on the article International students changing makeup of high schools
Please keep comments civil. MWR editors reserve the right to remove any comment. When posting a comment, you agree to the MWR Comments Policy. Name and comment will be posted; commenters are strongly encouraged to give their full name. Email address is for follow-up only and will not be made public.