CHAMPLAIN - "Boas vindas classe Ingles!" - the shouts of journalism students at Northeastern Clinton Central were easily translated to "Welcome to English class!" by three Brazilian school administrators, who recently visited to observe American schools.
Despite being in the U.S. for the first time, the three administrators and their Portuguese-speaking translator felt comfortable and welcome in the North Country. They all agreed that their negative views of Americans had changed drastically since their arrival.
"We get a lot of information from the media, but being here, seeing what you do, it's different," expressed one administrator, Maria Lima dos Anjos.
They are now in agreement Americans are actually "warm and nice," regardless of past assumptions.
The administrators weren't the only ones enjoying their stay, though. The students from NCCS responded very well to them.
"You could tell that they had a lot of affection for their jobs," said Gerald Marks, a senior.
Although the hospitality was greatly enjoyed, it was academics that fueled their trip. Schools in Brazil only have 4 1/2 hour school days, something all three of the administrators want to change.
If you go to school full-time, you have chances for more learning," concluded Edna Campos, another administrator.
To change the length of the school day, they said, a change of structure is needed, which takes a lot of time.
"But, we're working on it," said administrator Paulo da Silva Araujo.
Another new feature the administrators saw here was art classes.
"I think it's wonderful how you do it here. I wish I could do it there," said Campos.
Overall, the visit seemed to be an absolute success. The three administrators not only learned a lot and took back unfamiliar education ideas, but they had a great time, too.
"They were like little kids in the snow," said NCCS principal Stephen Gratto.
The visit was arranged through the Fulbright Program, which allows teachers and administrators to visit schools around the world. The program was first proposed to Congress in 1945. Since then, the U.S. has hosted more than 162,000 of Fulbright's foreign participants, with three being the school's Brazilian visitors. In addition, Gratto has also participated in the program, having himself once traveled abroad to England.
Ali Sisson is a student in the Northeastern Clinton Central School journalism class.