LEE, Maine ― Summer is here, but Lee Academy’s international student program will scarcely skip a beat as 52 Chinese eighth- and ninth-graders will enroll in a special program that will run most of July, Headmaster Bruce Lindberg said Thursday.
Students come from the city of Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, and will be enrolled and stay at the school with four teacher-chaperones July 7-31 during the academy’s first summer program dedicated exclusively to Chinese nationals, Lindberg said.
The three-week program costs the students $1,200 each, Lindberg said, and many parents likely will visit their children during the session.
“We hope that some of them will decide to stay at Lee Academy for the school year. That is one reason we are doing this,” Lindberg said. “The second thing is that independent schools can be vacant in the summer. This is a way to generate revenue.”
The students will study the English language during the morning sessions, with afternoon classes devoted to American culture. Many field trips are planned during the afternoons and weekends, Lindberg said.
The students will tour Maine colleges and universities, visit Baxter State Park, attend concerts, visit Lincoln’s Public Safety Building to see firefighters, go to Silver Lake and perhaps take in a Portland Sea Dogs game, though many are probably not that familiar with American baseball, Lindberg said.
“We will also introduce them to the state of Maine,” Lindberg said.
A private academy founded in 1845, Lee has contracts with local school boards to educate students from SAD 30, which serves Lee, Springfield, Webster and Winn. The school also serves students from Greenbush, Kingman, Topsfield, Vanceboro and the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine. Tuition, room and board is approximately $26,000 per year for seven-day boarding students.
Lee Academy has been a pioneering school in Maine in its success drawing Chinese students, with its efforts beginning in 2008. In the school year that ended earlier this month, 31 Chinese attended Lee out of 81 international students.
Lee also has formed satellite American high schools in China and South Korea. Lindberg, in fact, will travel to South Korea on Saturday to attend to the Lee Academy there. School officials also are entertaining an invitation from officials in Seoul to submit an application to build a school there, he said.