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UPDATE: Student from Spain Allowed to Finish School in Charleston

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UPDATE: 5/17/13 @ 5:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There's a huge sigh of relief now for a high school student who was told he couldn't spend his senior year at his current school, or even in the same county.

Fernando Martinez, 17, is an exchange student from Madrid, Spain. Kanawha County was planning to drop the program that brought him here.

A couple of weeks ago, he was told he couldn't come back to Capital High School for his senior year.

Superintendent, Dr. Ron Duerring says the employee who handles the program Martinez is enrolled in -- didn't want to do it anymore.

At Thursday night's board of education meeting, Martinez spoke about his love for his school and for West Virginia.

That's when another employee texted the superintendent saying she would take it on.

"It's a wonderful day. I got home from the meeting, emailed his family and let them know everything was good," Julia Wright, Martinez's host mother, said. "As Fernando said, he felt like it was a miracle that happened right in front of him."

Martinez will now go home to Spain for the summer and come back in August for his senior year.

The program that he is part of is sponsored by Kanawha County Schools, and because of that liability -- Dr. Duerring says they still don't plan to keep it around much longer.

Kanawha County schools will still accept foreign exchange students in the future, but they will have to be sponsored by another organization.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A student at Capital High School just learned he won't be able to graduate there.

The problem isn't his grades or behavior. It all has to do with him being a foreign exchange student from Spain.

“Hopefully we'll get new uniforms next year, so I’ve been working on them,” Capital High student Fernando Martinez said.

Designing new uniforms for his school’s lacrosse team means a lot to Martinez.

He's number 11 and has already been named team captain for next year.

“I love it. It's not just a team, it's a family,” Martinez said.

But he just found out he may have to leave that family -- and the one he's been living with.

“Our whole family has developed a very close bond with him,” Martinez’ host mother, Julia Wright, said. “He's like an additional son to us. My own son has found him to be like a brother.”

Wright got an e-mail last week from Kanawha County Schools: explaining that they were dropping the program that Martinez is part of.

“I was just thinking this can't be happening -- this can't be real,” Martinez said.

The e-mail states: "It has just become too much of a liability for the school system. Please tell Fernando, so he can make other plans."

“Why so late? If it would have been at Christmas we would have had time to plan, but right now it really leaves us in a bind. It leaves our student in a bind,” Wright said. “That's not fair to a 17-year-old to have to scramble around in a foreign country to figure out -- 'what do I do now?'”

School officials have suggested that Martinez try a private school or a school in another county.

“Whoever's on top of this; please don't do this. Not just for me. I'm just one student,” Martinez said.

WSAZ.com has contacted the official who sent that e-mail; as well as the superintendent's office. Those calls have not yet been returned.

A spokesperson with the state board of education says there are other programs out there that students like Martinez can look into. However, finding them is the challenge.


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