JANUARY 23, 1958
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—I spoke last week to the boys at Millbrook School, Millbrook, N.Y., on the subject of the Soviet Union. After a number of questions, one of the boys finally asked: "If Soviet students are over here for four years, how is it they don't understand the United States and tell about it when they go back?"
I had to explain that while almost every school has a number of foreign students, none as yet has any from Russia. I pointed out that I understood students exchanges between the U.S. and the Soviet Union are under discussion by the two governments and that we may arrange for student as well as professional exchanges on a higher level but that so far this has not materialized.
I could see by the expression on the boy's face that he had never realized that these normal contacts were not going on.
* * *
Several days later I found myself facing the boys at Choate School, Wallingford, Conn., together with some charming young ladies who had been invited there by the boys and were able to make the visit despite the fact that they had examinations the next day.
I felt that these young women must have done their work all through the term and were not trusting on cramming or they would not have spent the better part of the day visiting before examinations. This is encouraging, for I have never liked the system of cramming at the last minute to make up for insufficient work during the term.
At Choate, there are a good many foreign students and the boys there know that none from the Soviet Union have been admitted to this country. Headmaster Seymour St. John, however, is hopeful that, if an exchange is arranged, he may be fortunate in having one such student next year.
It will be interesting, I think, for the school that gets the first Soviet students to come to this country. I imagine that their visits will be arranged on a reciprocal basis and that we will be expected to send an equal number to the Soviet Union.
I was interested to find that almost every boy who sat at our table at Choate would like to be an exchange student next year. It denoted a curiosity which spoke well for the education they are receiving.
I always enjoy my visits to Choate. The boys seem specially alive and their questions are provocative.
In the evening I met there with a few members of the faculty and their wives and had the opportunity of hearing Bishop Oxman preach at the chapel service. His was a most interesting sermon and so challenging that I did not see a single head nod, which is a fine tribute to anyone addressing a group of boys just after a good lunch. The boys probably had a fair amount of exercise in the morning, too, for the snow was deep and the ice on the pond was beautiful.
I returned to New York Monday in time to attend the Brandeis University board meeting. These meetings are really stimulating, for Dr. L. Sachar is never afraid to explore new fields. The program of development at the university reflects his courage and broad-minded interest in preparing the students to meet new needs in the community.