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Can Buffalo become the center of the world for high school kids?

    There's a new look at the area's high-end private high schools, and it has a lot to do with the world being flat.

   In small but increasing numbers, international students -- mostly from Asia -- are enrolling at The Park School, Buffalo Seminary and Nichols School.

   So far, the trend seems to have widespread benefits.

   The international students, who are largely motivated by the desire to attend prestigious U.S. colleges and universities, get a leg up by becoming more familiar with the English language and American culture.

   Local private schools get a welcome source of motivated students as well as tuition payments during challenging economic times.

   And local students benefit from the diversity that classmates from other countries provide.

   So far, the growth of international students has largely happened spontaneously. But both Park School and Buffalo Seminary are making more concerted efforts to attract students from overseas, and to expand their reach to parts of the world not yet represented.

   There is a growing sense that Buffalo can become a magnet not just for international college students, but for high school students as well.

   What is the potential? Can Buffalo, despite a tattered national image, become an international center for high school students?

   -- Peter Simon


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