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From China to Clinton: a scholarly connection with new academy

CLINTON, Iowa -- A unique school partnership is bringing new activity to the former Ashford University campus. It's forming a China to Clinton connection.

A Spanish class at Clinton High School represents multicultural education. That's where you find Nate Vegh, 15.  The visiting Chinese teenager is exploring education in Iowa.

"It's much more open here," he said, on Tuesday, April 10. "It's free to have open discussions in class."

Closed for nearly two years, the former Ashford University campus will become an international boarding school. It's a chance to fill dark hallways and hold classes in modern science labs.

"This campus was a driving force for a long time," said Brian Clem, an Oregon-based investor who purchased the campus. "It's going to be a huge, huge boost to this region."

The private academy, still unnamed, will cater to wealthy Asian families. Yearly tuition will likely climb above $50,000.

It plans to fill about 50 teaching, administrative and staff positions in coming months. Some teachers are already on board and becoming familiar with Clinton before classes start in August 2018.

"We're taking the best out of the Chinese and American systems and trying to help the students to achieve what they want," said Ziyi Christine Ye, one of the new teachers.

The academy expects more than 50 teens to enroll at first. Select Clinton High students will also be able to take classes on campus. The academy will also pump money back into Clinton schools through the reciprocal partnership.

"It really helps if you're going into business to be able to communicate with other people," said Erika Farwell, a sophomore at Clinton High.

Organizers hope the campus and boarding school will eventually be home to around 300 students at a time.

For more information about the academy, email: info@clintoncatalyst.com