West Sound Academy is bringing the world to Poulsbo

POULSBO — The Murphy House will soon be under new management as West Sound Academy turns the bed and breakfast into a home for international students.

“This could be really cool for a teenager,” West Sound Academy librarian Susan Trower said.

The Murphy House, located on the corner of Hostmark Street and Fjord Drive, will provide accommodations for up to 10 international students and a host parent or couple beginning in the fall. Initially only four or five students will be housed.

During the 2009 to 2010 school year, West Sound Academy has hosted students from Sweden, France, China, Serbia, Indonesia, Russia and the Ukraine. International students make up 10 percent of the student body. With the added space, West Sound Academy is hoping to increase that number to 30 percent.

“There will not be 25 international kids roaming the streets of Poulsbo,” said Joe Kennedy, Head of School at West Sound Academy. “They’re very, very good kids.”

The school is looking to local groups and organizations in Poulsbo to strengthen its community presence, Kennedy said.

Other than coating the inside of the house with some fresh paint, the only major improvement needed is a commercial kitchen for West Sound Academy’s culinary arts program. The house was built in 1928 and converted to a bed and breakfast in the late 1990s. While the students who will stay at the Murphy House will be paying a room and board fee, students are still able to have a family host at no fee. This expands the number of students and countries able to participate in the program, Kennedy said.

“We’ll do our best to have a very eclectic group of kids as opposed to just one or two countries,” Kennedy said.

New owners, Annie Murphy and Brian Curtis, will be leasing the Murphy House to West Sound Academy.

“The place was vacant for several months so we’re really happy and pleased to get it up and running and a functional part of the community again,” Murphy said. “Mainly we want to do something good for the school.”

Murphy and Curtis bought the home this month, specifically to help the school and possibly in the future also use it for cancer patient retreats.

“We have a son who is a student (at West Sound Academy) and he’s just blossomed,” Murphy said.

West Sound Academy is also working to become an International Baccalaureate World School by fall 2011. This means it will be an internationally accredited school that must follow a strict guidelines. Students accepted into the program are considered highly qualified Kennedy said.

“The important goal for them is really to do very well on the international baccalaureate tests,” Kennedy said. “So they can either go back to their country and go to a university there or stay here and enter some of the finest colleges in the United States.”

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