FARMINGTON — Five middle school students from the small Alaskan village of Crooked Creek arrived at Mt. Blue Middle School Sunday.
They came “to see what it’s like here,” Mt. Blue teacher Wendy Simpson said.
The students, escorted by local teacher Tim Shumway, got a rousing greeting from Mt. Blue students as well as a potluck supper served at school by students and parents.
Shumway, who grew up in Farmington, taught in Crooked Creek before returning to Farmington to teach at Mt. Blue Middle School. Last year he went back to teach again in Crooked Creek.
Ten Mt. Blue Middle School students along with teacher/chaperones Greg Veayo and Wendy Simpson then traveled to Crooked Creek, about 300 miles northwest of Anchorage to an area that has few outside visitors.
After returning from their trip, Mt. Blue students told stories about their experiences and expressed hopes of entertaining a few of their new Alaskan friends — hopes that are now being fulfilled.
Shumway and the students arrived in Boston Saturday and visited a New Hampshire church led by Shumway’s father, the Rev. Alan Shumway, before driving on to Farmington, Simpson said.
They also presented a program on their native Crooked Creek in New London, N.H., Saturday night. After contending with spring flooding at Crooked Creek, prior to their departure, the students had little time to practice, Shumway said Sunday. The homes of two of the students were flooded and the school became a Red Cross center, he said.
The students will stay with student host families and shadow the students at Mt. Blue on Monday and Tuesday.
This week they will also visit the Capitol and see how state government works and enjoy a barbecue at a Wilton home, visit Maine’s rocky shore in the Camden and Rockland area and give a presentation to Mt. Blue students about their village.
Some Mt. Blue students and parents will travel with the Alaskan visitors to Portland on Saturday for a cruise around Casco Bay before they travel on to Boston for a flight home.
At the time Mt. Blue students visited Alaska, Simpson said the Alaskan students, while they have Internet access at school, have a skewed image of the United States because they have no visitors from the lower 49.
The trip is a first one this far away from Alaska for cousins Nicole and Pursilla Sakar, Nicole said Sunday as the students gathered with their Mt. Blue friends.