International students excited for first day at new Prince George's high school

Summer is officially over and more than 100,000 kids are hitting the books.

BLADENSBURG, Md. (WUSA9) -- Prince George's County Public Schools are back in session and you could feel the excitement of the new international students at Langley Park High School. They represent 19 countries. The students we found there Tuesday couldn't wait to start learning. 

Linda Arguera told us, "I feel excited 'cause the first day, you know, it's a new opportunity for me, I think."

Linda moved to the United States from El Salvador less than a year ago. At the time, she didn't speak any English. "It was kind of hard, because you start from the beginning, and everything, learn the language," she shared.

Now she's one of 100 new international students here at the Langley Park High School, surrounded by kids who are very different from her, but who all share one thing: English isn't their first language. 

Fellow student Michael, who is from Ethiopia, said, "I feel comfortable because other schools people are from English places like Pittsburgh, or somewhere else. But here I can be who I am."

The schools are a new concept in Prince George's County. Educators hope it will help bump graduation rates, which were all up last year, except for one group -- international students. 

Principal Carlos Beato hopes trying something different will lead to success for the students. "We don't just want them to learn English; we want them to be bi-literate...ultimately, making them extremely competitive in any field." 

If the enthusiasm from the kids is any indication, they are on the right track.

"I think this year is going to be my year!" said Linda.

The other international school is in Largo. One school didn't have the first day as expected: Thomas Stone Elementary in Brentwood was closed due to a nearby water main break.

Calvert County Public schools in Maryland also started classes Tuesday.

PREVIOUS STORY: D.C. students go back to school

Students at Montgomery County Public Schools and Charles County Public Schools return to class next Monday, August 31st.

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