After walking away from a rumored plan that would have put …
Updated: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013, 9:02 AM EST
Published : Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013, 4:40 PM EST
KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - After walking away from a rumored plan that would have put hundreds of Chinese students inside Forest Hills schools, the Weiming Education Group struck a deal with Rockford and Kentwood to place 45 students next school year.
For years, Rockford High School has had a Chinese language program, has hosted Chinese students and sent its own students to China. Adding 20 Chinese students to the approximately 2,000 students at the high school is more of an enhancement than a big change.
Josh Henderson is a senior at Rockford High School. He has studied Chinese for four years and will miss the Chinese students in the fall.
"I just love the language. I love Chinese. It's fun to learn," he told 24 Hour News 8. "I think it's great for Rockford students to experience a different culture. The more diversity, the better. You can always learn from different cultures."
China's Weiming Education Group had been talking with several Kent and Ottawa county school systems, but Rockford and Kentwood were the only two Kent County districts to agree to accept the Chinese students.
Each Chinese student will pay tuition of $10,000.
Being in a US high school puts the Chinese students in a better position to get into US universities. Kentwood Public Schools Superintendent Scott Palczewski said it's an answer to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's challenge to Michigan schools.
"He's asked us to diversify our economy and prepare out students to compete in a global society," Palczewski said. "I believe this is a first step in preparing out students so they can perform on the world stage."
In both Rockford and Kentwood, this will be a pilot program. Rockford school officials said it's also an opportunity for students to go to school in China on a longer term basis.