It was five years ago that Saint Viator High School formally started its Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV,
International Program. Its goal was to provide a supportive environment that would help students develop cultural understanding necessary to succeed in school.
At the time, less than one dozen international students attended Saint Viator, but those numbers have grown each year. At the start of the 2017-18 school year, 86 international students enrolled at Saint Viator, with the vast majority coming from China. The second leading group is from Korea, but students also have come from Colombia, Italy, Mexico and Russia in recent years.
“Getting to know the international students offers a great chance for cross-culturalization,” said Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, “which is so important in our world today.”
Some of the upperclassmen international students appeared before the faculty during a recent professional development session, when they expressed their hopes for the coming school year.
Nearly all of them said they came to Saint Viator to experience a broader education and one that offered many chances for other activities. In fact, among the small group that presented, many said they participate in band, participate in music ministry during school liturgies and compete on the math team. One girl said she played lacrosse.
“I think it’s important for American students to learn our culture, too,” said Yiran Liu ‘19.
In fact, school officials held their first Chinese New Year celebration in January, which was planned and carried out with the help of Chinese students. Other students also started playing Mahjongg in the dining hall each week, while members of Saint Viator’s Justice League are organizing a pot-luck meal, featuring foods from various cultures.
“As we continue to grow this program,” said Mrs. Rose Ruffatto, who directs the international program for Saint Viator, “there are a lot of opportunities to learn.”