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It's a small world at Neshobe School

In northern Australia, students certainly don't get "snow days" off from school, but they do get "cyclone days."

"Well, half of the year we get blue sky and sunshine," Leon noted, "the other half we get humid, wet monsoon weather."

So how did this Down Under family keep warm during the Vermont winter of 2010-11?

"It's an easy place to keep warm," Leon said. "We didn't bring a lot of warm clothes but we hit the thrift shops and got some quality wool gear."

To learn more about American teaching styles, Margaret volunteered as an aide in a classroom at Neshobe.

"I assisted Mrs. Faber with individual students," she said. "I took on board quite a few ideas. It was fantastic. Neshobe is a very organized school. The staff and front office are wonderful."

Both parents have been familiar faces at both Neshobe and Otter Valley with after-school programs. The couple spent many weeks taking photographs and video footage to assemble a video about the schools; they plan to show to to their students and administrators back in Australia next year.

Just last week, Leon and Margaret presented Neshobe students with a fun show-and-tell program about life in Australia. Of keen interest to the younger students assembled was Leon's stories about working on a crocodile farm.

"We have lots of dangerous crocs in Australia," Margaret said. "The students were fascinated with Leon's real-life story about a crocodile that made of with a little girl. Ihad one little boy ask me later if it was ok to swim here in Vermont. Itold him Vermont didn't have crocodiles."

The Mulvey-Syme family are ready to move on from with their sabbatical. They are leaving Vermont to travel to Denver, Chicago, and Toronto before heading off to France and then home. But in their wake are many friends and lots of exchanged e-mail addresses.

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