We would like to congratulate our foreign exchange student, Akosua Yeboah, for receiving a certificate of completion while attending North Sevier High School as a senior this past school year.

Notice that she is receiving a certificate of completion rather than a graduation diploma. When Akosua came to NSHS she met with a counselor to see what classes she would need to pass to graduate. After reviewing her transcripts, a plan was set up that would give her the required credits for graduation. Her home country transcripts included a USA grade equivalent.

We were recently informed she would not be able to graduate. After much discussion with multiple District people, we were informed the justification for the decision to stop her from graduating was based upon Sevier School District’s inability to verify the grading system in her home country.

Her GPA of 3.800 here indicates that her teachers at NSHS were well satisfied with her scholastic achievement.

If a student from a foreign country or a refugee comes to live in the Sevier School District, will the student be able to earn a high school diploma? How will the District be able to evaluate their previous home country’s scholastic achievement?

We contacted a person from the Utah State Board of Education about this. His response stated: “I have attached a document that will help with your question. Please review this document as it contains the policies and practices in regards to Foreign Exchange Students. On the second page under the title: State Reimbursement of 328 WPU for J-1 foreign exchange students – you will find in the third paragraph the following information about graduation ceremonies.

The paragraph reads: NO J-1 foreign exchange student will be granted a Utah High School Diploma unless they have met all Utah graduation requires as determined by the LEA, but at the discretion of the school, a foreign exchange student may participate in the graduation ceremony and activities.

It is disappointing that North Sevier has chosen not to allow this student to participate, but that is left up to each school district to determine.”

We no longer live in an isolated community. Utah has students and refugees from foreign countries living here now. Sevier School District should prepare a plan that would allow the students to graduate by meeting defined requirements.

David Blake


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