Students at Kentucky’s first international high school are preparing to finish their first semester. Gateway to Educational Opportunities International is located on Warren Central High School’s campus in Bowling Green.
About 65 percent of the school’s 180 students are refugees. Assistant Principal Adam Hatcher said some students know four or five languages, with most able to speak at least rudimentary English.
“It’s pretty neat to go in the hallways and hear them speaking their own language and they can code switch really quickly and start speaking English, pretty amazing,” Hatcher said.
When new students arrive, they’re paired with another student who speaks their language in order to keep the lines of communication open.
Students take classes in subjects familiar to all U.S high schools—math, science, social studies, and electives like choir and physical education. Principal Mike Stevenson said these students are modern-day pilgrims who believe in the ideas that built America
“We forget that there are people going through atrocities around the world that we hopefully will never understand, and this is a place of hope. It is a place where dreams can come true,” Stevenson said.
GEO International is home to students from 25 countries, including Burma and the Ivory Coast. The international high school finishes its first semester Friday.