Sixteen high school students from France’s Loire Valley traveled to Maine along with their chaperons and some family members, arriving in Rockland on April 16.

Watershed School French teacher Crystal Robinson arranged the visit to the local school through friends who have homes in Cushing and Pontlevoy, France, where the young travelers attend Lycee Catholique de Pontlevoy, a private high school with about 70 students. The school is in the town of Pontlevoy, about 200 kilometers south of Paris.

Following a stay in Jefferson and a visit to the Maine State Museum, the group of 10th graders arrived in Rockland late Friday afternoon, in time for a light snack and some energetic play outside. Watershed students taught some of their guests the rules of Ultimate Frisbee, and after several runs up and down the small field behind the Lincoln Street Center for Arts and Education, they took the French visitors for a walking tour of the city.

On Sunday, April 18, the visitors from France could be found in Belfast Harbor, where they boarded a rowing gig and learned team rowing techniques from Malcolm Gater of ComeBoating in Belfast and Muriel Curtis of Station Maine in Rockland.

“We’re hoping it will be an ongoing exchange,” said Carol Cardon, who was hosting part of the group. Other students were staying with families in Cushing and Thomaston during the Midcoast portion of their visit.

The group planned to return to France on Thursday, April 22, but on Tuesday, April 20 Cardon said it was uncertain whether flights would leave as scheduled or what the group would do if their departure was delayed.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” she said cheerfully.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at