What do a small mining town in the Adirondacks and a group of international high school exchange students have in common? Maybe nothing, but the combination is proving to be a successful experience for Newcomb, New York, and international students eager to learn outside of their home country.
The idea was born when Superintendent Clark Hults was fearful of the dropping population in his town and at the only local school. 55 students, from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, were enrolled in 2006. This was a major drop from the 1,500 enrolled in the 1980s. Hults knew that if the school closed, the town would suffer, so he drafted an ambitious proposal.
Inspired by the number of students who study internationally every year, Hults decided to open up the opportunity for a local economy boosting, educationally enriching experiment. His theories proved true and students began arriving from all over the world. Iraq, Vietnam, France, Russia, Israel and Lebanon are all countries currently represented by Newcomb students. Enrollment is currently at 85 students, 30 of them exchange students, and still growing.