Students from Netherlands visit CASMAN Academy and Manistee

MANISTEE — The hallways of CASMAN Academy this week have a very different sound to them as some of the students are speaking with a distinct accent in their voices.

That different sound is because six students and their teacher from the Netherlands are visiting Manistee for the week as part of the exchange program that is going on between the two schools. Eleven months ago CASMAN teacher Shelly Van Voorst traveled to the Netherlands for the first part of this program to see how things were done in that country.

Students from the Metameer School in the Netherlands will be spending the week in manistee as part of an exchange program with the CASMAN Academy students. Shown left to right are jeroen Wubbels, Michael Atsma, Rody van Abel, Marle van Daal, Esther Taks, Sanne hendricks and teacher Sara Adeney. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

“They are from Stevensbeek in the Netherlands, which is a small town of about 8,000 people. Their school is called Metameer, and it is between Arnhem and Nijmegen,” said VanVoorst. “I went there over Thanksgiving last year and visited their school.”

VanVoorst said that throughout the week the students would be very busy with a variety of activities around the Manistee County area. Part of what the Netherlands students do is a community service project and the other is a learning experience.

Students who made the trip from the Netherlands were Jeroen Wubbels, Michael Atsma, Rody van Abel, Marle van Daal, Esther Taks and Sanne Hendriks. Accompanying them on the trip is lead teacher Sarah Adeney.

“They are working on a salmon project with Bridget Dontz, our science teacher, and Wednesday,” said VanVoorst. “Thursday they are going with the Spanish teacher to Hart to work with the migrant students there to help teach them English.”

According to Van Voorst, their guests appear to be having a good time. However, it has been a very hectic pace.

“They came in late Monday evening, so by last night they were a little jet lagged, but we still pretty happy and excited about it,” said Van Voorst. “They had left at 8 a.m. their time and there is a five-hour time difference, so they didn’t arrive until 2 a.m. their time. They have pretty much been going non-stop since they arrived.”

However, Van Voorst said although the trip was smooth, in they’re might be a slight problem for the return one next Tuesday.

“They flew into Manistee and after what happened there is a slight hiccup there,” said VanVoorst. “If there isn’t a flight out we may have to drive to Chicago. That would be interesting for them because you can drive across the Netherlands in two and one half hours, and it will take five plus to six hours just to get them to the Chicago airport.”

All of the Netherlands students are staying with host families from either CASMAN or the Manistee Area Public Schools. What that is doing is giving them the opportunity to do some of the after school activities, like soccer games.

“They are getting to know the town a little bit and we are trying to set up with MAPS to go over there and shadow a student so they can see how a small school and a bigger school in America operate,” said VanVoorst.

VanVoorst said they also wanted to give them time to view the Manistee area and see Lake Michigan.

“We wanted to leave their weekend free to just tour, explore the area and relax a little bit,” said VanVoorst. “Their week is packed so that will give them a chance to take it easy.

“They also have plans to set up a project with social studies classes at CASMAN if time permits it. Their lead teacher is going to sit down with our social studies teacher to work on a population/immigration project.”

The goal between the two schools is to create projects that they can continue to work on and expand in the future. It is something the teachers plan to discuss in greater depth over the next few days.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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