Marshall High School receives Top AFS School award

MARSHALL – Karla Adams stopped by the Marshall High School office Thursday afternoon with a container of cookies for the staff and a plaque for the school. The plaque was an award from the Marshall AFS Chapter saying MHS has been selected to receive a “2013 Top AFS School” award from AFS-USA, an international high school student exchange.

Jeremy Williams, the assistant high school principal, accepted the national award on behalf of the school.

“This is exciting,” he said. “We are grateful for this and really appreciate the positive relationship we’ve had with AFS over the years.”

Adams is the Marshall AFS Chapter chairwoman and is impressed with all the MHS staff and faculty has done in its 52-year history of accommodating foreign exchange students in Marshall.

“It’s the amount of interaction the school has had with the students,” she said of why MHS received the award.

Schools honored with this inaugural award have partnered with AFS in a variety of ways to foster global citizenship through intercultural learning – both inside and outside of the classroom – from hosting international students, sending students abroad and working with AFS-USA to incorporate intercultural and experiential learning opportunities in the curriculum.

Adams said the exchange students are enmeshed in the school. Staff help them get signed up for classes, connect with a counselor, “their language skills may need improvement, so they get help with that.”

The high schools selected from around the country for this public recognition are making a difference in the lives of students and in society at large. The ability to speak another language, to navigate in a different cultural context and to marshal a global perspective are skills that today’s students need to succeed in our increasingly interdependent world.

Throughout the years, Marshall High School has hosted 109 students from 35 countries and sent 38 students abroad to 24 countries.

“We’re so thankful and proud to work in educational partnership with schools like Marshall High School,” said Tonya Muro, the director of School Outreach at AFS-USA in a news release. “Today’s AFS is so much more than international educational exchange. Together with schools, AFS is bringing global competencies and key 21st century skills to students, teachers and the greater community.”

After Monday, the entire list of schools honored can be viewed at

Adams said March is host family appreciation month. Her family has been the host to six students since the 2004-2005 school year.

“Our first one we were supposed to be a welcome (short-term) family,” she said. But the family liked the student, who was from Thailand, so much it was arranged that they would be the host family.

One of the Adams’ daughters was 7 at the time and asked her mother to be sure to have a foreign exchange student at the house when she was in high school – a request that Adams has fulfilled now that her daughter is a freshman.

The family has enjoyed all the students whom they have met.

“They’ve been wonderful. We keep in contact with all of them,” Adams said. “Mainly through Facebook or sometimes on holidays, they’ll call.”

For more information about the Marshall AFS chapter, call Adams at 532-9154 or Lois Johnson at 532-7463.

Adams said the chapter is currently in the process of looking for host families.

“We need at least two more families,” Adams said.