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LHS welcomes foreign exchange students
loc slt Larned international club
Paul and Toby with Larneds International Club officers: Macy Haas, Vice-President; Toby, Xu Zhaokun; Brooke Coulson, President; Paul, Phurideth; and Cathleen Cowell, Secretary. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Larned High School will be host to two foreign exchange students for the 2017-2018 school year. Phurideth, or Paul, as he likes to be called, comes from Bangkok, Thailand, and Xu Zhaokun, or Toby, as his American friends call him, hails from Hefei, China. They will be staying with their host parents, Ron and Corrine Wray.
Paul, who has a 13-year-old brother, finds Larned much different than Bangkok, with its higher population, skyscrapers, and numerous department stores.
Toby, who is an only child, came to Larned because he wanted to experience a new geographical environment. Compared to Larned, Hefei is more like New York City, he said.
While both young men joined the foreign exchange program to travel and to experience new things, Paul’s mother encouraged this move so that he could work on his English. Toby is integrating very well to LHS but is still looking for ways to become involved while Paul joined the LHS choir.
Both Paul and Toby found senior paint night during Homecoming interesting. According to Corinne Wray, two interesting comments by the boys were made when they saw “candidate” written on a vehicle and when they observed the painting of the senior parking lot. Paul said that his dad would be mad if someone painted words on his car. Both commented that if the students painted the parking lot at their home schools, the people in charge would most likely lose their jobs. These small traditions are just an indication of the differences between life in rural Kansas and in a city of 9 million.
Larned High School’s International Club, sponsored by Patty Wilcox, serves as their “home away from home” at school. Several activities have been planned throughout the year to make their experience a positive one.