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Soviet Teen-Agers Arrive for Exchange Program

April 13, 1987

ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) _ Eight teen-agers from the Soviet Union began a visit to the United States by eating hamburgers and meeting the students who will be their roommates during their eight-week stay at an exclusive American prep school.

The Soviet students arrived Sunday as part of an exchange program between Phillips Academy here and a boarding school in Novosibirsk, a city in Siberia.

Nine Phillips students, as well as the academy’s president, headmaster and four faculty members, were on hand to meet the Soviet teens at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

They traveled by bus to the campus, stopping on the way at a fast-food hamburger restaurant.

″None of them fell asleep on the way up, which was really something when you consider how long they’ve been up,″ said Chris Shaw, a spokesman for Phillips.

″I think they were totally zooed, just following orders by the time we got here. They are exhausted,″ he said.

The students arrived at the campus’ Cooley House to meet new roommates in a quiet setting, Shaw said. Their official welcome before Phillips’ 1,200 students is planned for Wednesday.

The students are part of the first truly reciprocal academic exchange of high school students between the countries, according to Liza Mallot, program assistant for the President’s US-Soviet Exchange Initiative in Washington.

Eight Phillips students and two teachers reached Novosibirsk three weeks ago for an eight-week stay.

President Reagan’s 1985 summit meeting in Geneva with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev prompted the creation of the exchange, Ms. Mallot said.

The three Soviet girls and five boys, accompanied by one of their teachers, attend a prestigious boarding school in Novosibirsk, Siberia, that specializes in physics and math, said Phillips’ headmaster, Don McNemar.

All have studied English, ″but this is the first time they’ve been in an English-speaking country,″ said McNemar.

At Phillips, they will live in dormitories and study math, physics, computers, English and art.

″They’ll have American roommates and take part fully in the life of the school in terms of studies, sports and other activities,″ said McNemar.

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