Huntington SD Welcomes Visitors From China

Filed under: Huntington Union Free School District,News |

Huntington High School is a proverbial melting pot with students that trace their roots to many different cultures and countries. So, it was entirely fitting that the school welcomed a delegation of ten Chinese students and their chaperone this week.

The group will stay through February 5 when they will depart for another week of exploring America on their own. A set of ten Huntington High School parents volunteered to host the visitors during their stay in town.

The Chinese teenagers, who are all top students at prestigious Tianjin High School #1, were accompanied to America by science teacher Deng Jinjie. “They will be given an opportunity to experience Huntington High School classes by shadowing some of the 20-plus students we have in our host group participating in the exchange program,” said Joseph Leavy, chairperson of humanities for grades 7-12, who coordinated the visit with the Chinese.

“We offer an emphatic welcome to our friends from Tianjin No. 1 High School in China,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Members of the Huntington school community had been eagerly anticipating and preparing for their arrival. Many students and staff members at both schools have worked diligently to formulate an eventful and worthwhile educational and social agenda, designed to promote a genuine cultural exchange during the two-week visit and well beyond.”

The exchange is viewed as an opportunity for students from both countries to “build bonds and learn about each other’s customs, history and school systems firsthand through a series of after-school workshops designed by Huntington social studies teacher Jordan Gould,” Mr. Leavy said.

The Chinese students are participating in classroom activities during the school day and are involved in various social events during afternoon and evening hours. The Huntington High School student government voted to host a welcoming dinner and social to help celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dragon on Wednesday night that drew students, parents and school officials.

The visitors attended Monday night’s Huntington School Board meeting and were welcomed by trustees. Mr. Leavy explained some of the goals of the exchange program and how it is broadening the horizons of Huntington High School students.

The goal of the visit “is to create a positive, enriching cross-cultural experience for each other, as well as for our new friends from China,” Mr. Leavy said. “They will be immersed within a different culture and will come across values, beliefs and ways of life that may seem foreign to them.”

Experiences are planned in Huntington village, at the Cold Spring Harbor Lab and in New York City, too. “This program will facilitate the type of learning and interpersonal communication that transcends the classroom, leading to an invaluable and memorable experience for all involved,” Mr. Polansky said.

Photo above: Chinese cultural exchange students and their Huntington High School hosts gathered in the Jack Abrams School gym for a photo.

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