Applewild School Homework

  • World Geography and Global AwarenessFebruary 14th, 2018

  • iRobot Corporation Visits Applewild SchoolFebruary 8th, 2018

  • Third Graders’ Study of the American Colonial Period Inspires Critical Thinking and CollaborationFebruary 6th, 2018

  • Applewild Students Celebrate Dr. King’s LegacyJanuary 16th, 2018

  • Fall Athletic Roundup, and Winter Athletic Preview!December 12th, 2017

  • The Integration of Science, Art, and LiteratureDecember 6th, 2017

  • Growing Confidence: The Performing Arts at ApplewildNovember 29th, 2017

  • Hunger Banquet & Dining Hall Fast Benefit OxfamNovember 21st, 2017

  • The Outdoor ClassroomNovember 7th, 2017

  • Applewild Lower School Students Create Community-Driven ArtOctober 27th, 2017

  • FITCHBURG -- The hardest part of cooking dinner for two international students from China is getting the dishes spicy enough, according to Deb Schultz, a homestay mom who lives in Lunenburg.

    Schultz's older son is now in college, and for the last few years, she has let students from other nations stay at her home so they can attend a private school. Her current homestay kids are "David" Yu, 13, and "Dylan" Liu, 14, who are both from Changsha city, in southeastern China.

    She has tried setting out hot sauce on the table for them to splash on their food. "But it's not the same. It's not spicy enough," Schultz said.

    David and Dylan -- those are American names they've adopted -- are both seventh-graders at Applewild School in Fitchburg, where Schultz works as the communications and marketing coordinator.

    David has been here since August, and Dylan came in January and is still working on his English language skills. He takes classes as an English language learner, but David is enrolled in regular classes.

    "When he first came here, we would play board games so he could practice his English," Schultz said of David.

    "My parents wanted my future (to be) better," David said about why he is attending Applewild.

    His plan is to attend both high school and college in the States and study engineering. Attending middle school at Applewild is helping him get used to the American education system.

    Applewild School Headmaster Chris Williamson said the reasons David's family has enrolled him at Applewild are pretty common for the school's international students.

    The school currently has 11 international students, most in the upper grades. There are five in eighth grade, and two in fifth grade.

    "The first reason is that their family is interested in the long-range trajectory of secondary school and college preparation," Williamson said, adding that they see Applewild as a first step toward that goal.

    Williamson has been a homestay host himself and has visited schools in China and other Asian countries.

    He said the Chinese and Korean education systems are based on lecturing to students and expecting the students to retain that information and give it back to them when taking tests. Classes are large and high-pressure, and the results on their tests determine their future.

    "The idea of problem-solving and critical thinking is fostered better in the United States," Williamson said.

    He said that's why some families with the financial means choose to send their children to study in America. They also learn English while they're here, which he called the "common commercial language."

    So why study in Central Massachusetts?

    "Applewild has developed a reputation for being a good place, both academically and in terms of support, so that it provides a good transition," Williamson said.

    But that also means families have to find their children a place to live. The three common approaches are to sign up with a homestay organization, have a parent move to America and get an apartment or house, or place the student with a family member or friend who lives in the United States and can act as a guardian.

    David said that before he came to America, he expected everyone to be blond and all the buildings to be skyscrapers, like in New York City.

    "I really like the snow because it let us go skiing and sledding," he said.

    He has also tried new things, like carrying firewood, and has seen new animals, such as deer, turkeys and, last week on the streets of Fitchburg, a moose.

    David, who has pi memorized to 70 digits, said he has found it easy to make friends here, and helps other students with their math work.

    Dylan said when he first came to the Schultz household, he was afraid of their dog.

    "Now it's my best friend," he said.

    The two boys go on day trips with Schultz and her family, and plan to go to Maine when school gets out. Both of them are learning to play the drums and lacrosse, a sport originally created by American Indians, and David is planning to play hockey next year.

    David said he likes playing video games, mostly "Minecraft," but Schultz won't let him touch the game until he finishes his homework. 

    GPHomestay, the firm that placed David and Dylan with Schultz, conducts background checks and pays families a stipend to reimburse them for food and other expenses.

    Schultz said the boys can call GPHomestay directly if they run into any problems at home, and the organization makes regular calls and monthly visits to make sure everything is up to speed.

    David and Dylan are both going back to China for the summer and plan to come back to the Schultz household, and Applewild, in the fall.

    Schultz said that even after they move on to high school and college, she will always be their mom in America.

    "We've told them that they've always got a place to come to," she said.

    Follow Michael Hartwell at or on Twitter or Tout @Sehartwell.

    TICK1 TICK2Ê TICK3: Thomas Mather, of the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center, collects and counts ticks in South Kingstown, RI in November 2012. The ticks are adult stage blacklegged (deer) ticks. Photo credit: Brian Mullen, URI TickEncounter Resource Center

    Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

    David Yu, 13, raises his hand in match class Wednesday at Applewild School. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE

    Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

    Dylan Liu, 14, participates in lacrosse at Applewild School in Fitchburg on Thursday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE

    Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

    David Yu, 13, participates in lacrosse at Applewild School in Fitchburg on Thursday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE

    Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

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