Kenai Central High School has been named one of the top schools in the nation when it comes to international exchange students. Allen Fields, principal of Kenai Central High School, discussed the honor.
Fields: “Yeah, we were recognized as ‘2013 Top AFS School’, and that’s the intercultural exchange program, formerly known as American Field Services. We were selected as one of the top schools in the nation, the only one in the state of Alaska to be recognized, due in part to our involvement with AFS, our local AFS chapter and the international chapter in bringing international exchange students here to Kenai.”
KCHS has hosted eighty-one students from thirty-six different countries, and sent twenty-one students to study in eighteen different countries. Fields commented on the benefit this has, not only the visiting students, but to the students who call Kenai home..
Fields: “The students that come here in exchange they obviously benefit from being part of the local culture, the school culture, they get experience in developing their English language skills, they get experience in the things that Alaska has to offer in addition to what the typical high school experience has to offer. But those students also bring a cultural experience to our students, you know, they’re involved in the activities here at school, they’re a part of the cross country ski team or the basketball team, and then our kids get to learn about their culture and their customs and it enriches the experience for both sets of students.
Dr. Steve Atwater, superintendent of the local district told us that everyone with the district was thrilled to learn that Kenai Central is being recognized in this way. Atwater noted that KCHS’s ability to seamlessly integrate its exchange students into its school and the resulting benefit to all students is a shining example of what can be achieved with a high degree of collaboration.