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Student Exchange Visit Creates and Strengthens Relationships

The journey was a long one for the five students and their assistant principal, Mr. Wenyi Zhang, but everything the group has learned and the friendships they have made have been well worth it!  Marvin Ridge has been honored this week to host our first ever exchange students from our sister-school, High School Affiliated to Nanjing Normal University, Jian Ning Campus  in Nanjing, China. 

Mau Tong (Cathy), Zhong Xioxi (Rita), Wang Tianhe (Michael), Lu Tianrui, and Pan Zheng Yaun arrived on Saturday, February 2 after two flights totaling over 20 hours and getting separated from their Headmaster, Mr. Zhang, at the airport in San Francisco.  Host families greeted students at the airport in Charlotte, and all were officially welcomed on Sunday at a reception at the home of our Chinese teacher, Mrs. Xiaohong Hu-Mueller. 

The rest of the week included attending classes with host and guide students, traveling into Charlotte for field trips, spending time with the host families, cooking international fare with Foods I and II, playing a special table tennis challenge with the Ping Pong club, participating in our winter pep-rally, cheering for the Mavericks at our home game on Friday night, and, of course, shopping! 

Saturday was a very special day for the students and Mr. Zhang.  February 9-10 ushered in the Chinese New Year, traditionally a very big family holiday in China.  Mr. Zhang and the students wanted to share one of the traditions with their host families, so everyone met at the home of Marvin Ridge English teacher Tamara May.  The group of about 25 made Chinese dumplings together, with everyone getting in on the preparation under the direction of Mr. Zhang and the students.  The food and fellowship made for a wonderful evening!

The host families for the students included Earl and Anita Edwards and daughter Cara; Mark and Robin Porter and daughter Riley; David and Ellen Scott and son Ryan; Dean and Tamara May and sons Trevor, Parker, and Caleb; Bill and Jenny Dobbratz and son Shaeffer.   Mr. Zhang spent his time between the homes of Mrs. Hu-Mueller, and assistant principal Mrs. Lisa Justice.  A huge thank you to all of these folks for opening their homes to our guests. 

The visit will wrap up this week as the students will attend some special meetings and classes on Monday, and leave for Shanghai very early Tuesday morning.   Thank you to all Marvin Ridge staff, students, and families for your help and hospitality in making this visit a great success.  We are proud that our sister-school partnership continues to grow and build strong bonds between our students, our schools, and even our two countries.   

Written by: Beth Hamilton
Posted: Feb 10, 2013 by Beth Hamilton

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