Doris Watkins’ letter, “Two-way street” (BDN, Aug. 27), regarding Lee Academy’s expansion into China, suggested some great ideas for cross-educating students in both countries. So, I felt it would be helpful to better explain the school’s agreement with the Chinese and our plans for the future.

Lee Academy’s boarding program has a long, rich history. Since 1949, when our first dormitory, Weymouth Hall, opened, we have welcomed students from around the nation and the globe to our quaint, picturesque community. Through the years we have worked with many agents to find and recruit quality students interested in studying challenging academics in a healthy, rural setting.

As the world has become smaller and countries like China opened their doors to globalization, Lee Academy was presented with the prospect of opening a school in Wuhan using curriculum identical to that taught at our school in Lee. From the beginning, it has been our goal to not only have Chinese students come to Lee, but for young people from our region to also have opportunities of their own to study abroad.

In fact, Lee Academy officials take a seven-day trip to Beijing next March, and will offer Eastern Maine high school students the chance to travel with them. Lee Academy often uses the slogan “Opening Doors to the World,” and I have an excellent example of just that: Last year, during a history class, the topic of Middle East peace was being discussed.

A young man raised his hand and asked the teacher, “Would you like to hear what it is like first-hand? As a Palestinian living in Israel, let me tell you how it is.” What other chance would a young person from Lee — or Wytopitlock, Springfield or any of the other local communities we serve — have to glimpse life in an-other country through the eyes of a fellow teenager?

As Lee Academy opens schools on foreign soil, our own American teens studying in those countries will be able to offer the same unique insight to other young people. And a better understanding of our similarities can only lead to a more peaceful world — one respectful of others’ differences. It should be noted that Lee Academy has a wide and varied student population.

The school is currently instructing kids from Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Israel, Australia and suburban areas throughout the United States. I state with pride and without hesitation that graduates of Lee Academy are better prepared for the international world than graduates from any other school in Maine, precisely because of our exceptionally diverse student population.

The young people of this region are being presented with a more enriched learning environment thanks to the success of our boarding program, and now thanks to our future satellite schools. To those who may be intrigued by our plans I invite you to call, or better yet, visit Lee Academy.

You will find our local students studying, playing sports and just hanging out with peers from the countries mentioned. We insist our foreign students speak English, and encourage their involvement in our extracurricular activities.

Once you step onto our campus you will discover that Lee Academy is a special and unique place, and we are excited and proud to be leading the way in 21st century global education.