School district offers exchange opportunity

Posted: Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Skyview High School will host the first in a series of classes for Kenai Peninsula Borough School District high school students interested in participating in an exchange program to Magadan March 14 through April 4.

The class will focus on gaining a greater understanding of the current issues facing Russia as it continues to evolve from its tsarist and USSR past. The class format will be a combination of presentations, discussions, activities and field trips with a primary goal being to provide each student with enough background to understand the issues facing young people living in Russia today.

Homework assignments and projects will be designed to allow students to explore the information presented and develop their own ideas about the connections and implications.

Also, a significant portion of the time will be spent building relationships with students from Magadan Schools No. 1 and 14. Twenty students and six teachers from Magadan will arrive on Oct. 4 for a three week exchange through the U.S. State Depart-ment's Secondary School Partnership grant.

Class participants will be expected to participate in a retreat with the Russian students Oct. 5 to 7 in Seldovia. There also will be many optional excursions, field trips and gatherings during the exchange which will be open to class members.

Beyond participation in class activities, students will be expected to read three books during the class -- "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "The New Russians" by Hedrick Smith and a third chosen by individual students.

Students also will be expected to develop and maintain at least one e-mail correspondence relationship with a student at either Magadan school for the entire class.

Participation in the class will result in a one-semester elective credit, graded A through F. Participating students are expected to be enrolled full-time at a KPBSD high school or with Connections.

Twenty students from the class also will be selected to participate in a three-week exchange to Magadan in the spring. Students will be selected based on performance in the class, maturity, attitude related to living with a host family and overall academic performance.

Preference will be given to underclassmen enrolled in Russian classes if all other criteria are equal, but Russian language is not a prerequisite.

The class is free. The trip is partially funded through the U.S. State Department's Secondary School Partnership grant and will cost $500. Students must be between the ages of 14 and 18 at the time of the trip to qualify for the grant.

Additional scholarships will be available for students in need of financial assistance. Students not chosen among the 20 participating under the grant program may also be able to travel to Magadan for a higher fee, depending on the availability of host families and the economics of Magadan this winter.

To register for the class, send the student's name, mailing address, e-mail address, home phone number, birth date, school and grade to Allan Miller at Skyview High School by fax at 262-6555 or e-mail at

Class size is limited to 35 students on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The class will have its first meeting from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday in the Skyview library. The class will meet each following Wednesday in September; for activities throughout October; once every three weeks in November, December and January; and once every two weeks in February and March.

Host families in the Kenai and Soldotna areas also are needed for students traveling from Magadan in October.

Families with students participating in the class are encouraged to sign up, but hosting a student is not a prerequisite for participation in the class and families without a student in the class also are welcome to host a student.

For more information, call Allan Miller at Skyview, 262-7675, or Rick Matiya at the KPBSD Central Office, 262-5846.

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