Some Polish students and their teachers visited Lincoln High School last week.
The 24 students are from Torun, Philadelphia’s sister city in Poland, said principal Donald Anticoli. They stayed with host families in the Northeast for their 10-day visit, teacher Keith Roeckle said. Most are juniors and seniors in their home city and they speak English, Roeckle said.
“Most people in Poland under forty speak English,” he said.
Good thing. Polish is not widely taught in the United States, so students from the Ryan Avenue school who will visit Poland next year as part of the exchange program will have to rely on the more cosmopolitan Poles to be understood.
Languages are taught early in Polish schools. Visiting student Joanna Jaskulowska, 18, for example, said she knows Spanish, French, German, Italian and Latin as well as English and Polish.
She is staying with the family of Lincoln student Heather Ecclestein, who visited Torun last year. She hopes to study to become a pediatrician in college and is applying to U.S. schools.
The student exchange program has been going on for a few years now, and the students who have visited on both sides of the Atlantic have been keeping in touch by e-mail or on Facebook, Roeckle said.
One thing that was a little surprising to the visiting students, Roeckle said, was school security — a metal detector at Lincoln’s front entrance, for example.
But it’s not complete culture shock, Roeckle said. There are security checkpoints all over Europe and they’re usually manned by well-armed soldiers. ••