8 LHS students selected for exchange
Lansing High School junior Michael Nielsen is about to have his passport stamped again.
Nielsen, who traveled to Europe this summer, is one of eight students who will be going to China next spring as part of an exchange program between LHS and Kaifeng, China.
Nielsen said he was interested in learning more about a growing world power.
"I think China's going to be a very influential business opportunity in the future," he said.
LHS officials on Monday announced the students who would be traveling in the school's first exchange with Kaifeng.
Linda Leffler, an LHS language arts teacher who is heading up the exchange program, said 29 applications were picked up and 17 were returned. Of the 17, eight were selected to go on the trip in March, and two were chosen as alternates. If the alternates are not called up this year, they are assured to make the trip next year, Leffler said.
Selected students were seniors Stefan Dumlao, Jason Gibson and Lindsey Piper; juniors Natalie Hall, Nielsen and Rachel Schifferle; sophomore Rita Edmonds; and freshman Jennifer Simpson. Alternates are junior Kara Ritchey and sophomore Maria Jackson.
The application included essays from students, letters from parents, recommendations from teachers and references from people outside the school, Leffler said. The selection process took about two weeks, she said.
Mary Alice Schroeger, one of the teachers traveling to China, also was involved in the selection process.
"It was very difficult because all the kids who applied were really good candidates for travel overseas," she said.
Schroeger said she looked for a variety of traits when selecting the students who would make the trip. She wanted students who were willing to try new things and who had an adventurous spirit, she said. She also said students needed problem-solving skills, a desire to learn and to apply what they learn to their personal life and "the ability to recognize that there are a lot of people in the world and everybody isn't like me," she said.
Schroeger and Leffler stressed that the students also were chosen to help the exchange program get off the ground. They will be responsible for speaking to students and the community about their experience when they return
Leffler said the students would participate in International Week at LHS and would also make a presentation at the Lansing Educational Foundation Fund breakfast in the spring.
The students and teachers will travel to China in March for two weeks. For five days, they will stay at the home of one of the students from the Kaifeng school they will visit. When they are not in school, the group will travel around the country.
In addition to Leffler and Schroeger, LHS librarian Debra Hutton will make the trip to China.