Students, teachers, and administrators at Wheeling Central Catholic High School will soon gain firsthand knowledge about how the other side of the world ticks beginning in January, and now officials are searching for local families who would like to share in that experience.
Dana Schmidt with Twinn Palms Homestay Services is currently recruiting host families for as many as eight Chinese students who are set to enroll at Wheeling Central Catholic following Christmas break.
“At this point in time we have two students who have chosen Wheeling, and we do know that there are more students who are continuing the process in China so they can come here, too,” Schmidt said. “That is why we have started our search for the homestay families that will serve as the hosts for these students.
“We are looking for families who would be willing to open up their homes and to offer these students the American culture while attending Central Catholic High School,” Schmidt explained. “If there are folks in our community that have an open bedroom and would be willing to experience this process with one of the students, we definitely would like to hear from them.”
Thus far Wheeling Central has gained a male and female student from China. Xindi is a 14-year-old female who is in 9th grade, and she is an A student who plays the piano and likes to read. Lyu is a 17-year-old male who is involved in his tennis and radio club. His hobbies include cooking, basketball, climbing, and music.
Each family interested in hosting one of the students will be interviewed by Schmidt, and all applicants will be required to be at least 26 years old, possess a government-issued identification card, and also prove they have car insurance. A background check will be performed as well.
Once that process is complete, each Chinese family will be presented with three potential host families from which to choose.
“The program calls for three different choices for the families and students in China because they know what they wish to gain from participating in this program,” Schmidt explained. “When the students come here, they will be on a 10-month education visa and our hope is that they will have the chance to travel during the summer break and during the other extended breaks during the school year.
“Wheeling is very close to some of the most exciting places in the United States so we are hoping that they would have the opportunities to see cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York,” she continued. “And our host families can request time off, too, if they wish to do something with their immediate family members only.”
Each selected family will receive a monthly stipend of $700 to pay for its student’s expenses.
“The stipend the families receive is to be used to pay for the food and the transportation that is going to be necessary for these students,” Schmidt explained. “Our host families will need to make sure their student has an American cell phone and a bank account … things like that.
“Another part of the program is monthly checkups with both the students and their host families to ensure that everything is working the way it is supposed to,” she continued. “O