|South Lake Middle School principal Richard Norsigian, left of Farmington Hills stands with Tianjin Nankai High School principal Kang Xiuyan as she waves goodbye to the choir class after they sang the Chinese National Anthem to the Chinese delegation, Wednesday
A group of educators from China visited with their counterparts in the South Lake Schools district Wednesday to discuss student exchanges and learn more about a program that teaches students Mandarin as well as Chinese culture and history.
The group included Kan Xiuyan, principal of the Tianjin Nankai High School; Ma Jian, assistant to the principal; Zhang Qingmin, assistant to the director of the high school's International Division; and Wang Hongna, a chemistry teacher at the high school.
Nankai High School is in the Tianjin municipality of China near Beijing. Tianjin's urban area is the country's third largest city in mainland China with more than 10 million inhabitants.
The visit comes about six months after the school system launched the educational program -- the Global Studies Project -- in conjunction with Lake Shore Public Schools.
More than 90 seventh-graders in the two districts are participating in the two-year program. Forty-three of the students are at South Lake Middle School, where the Chinese educators stopped first and were greeted by a student choir performing the Chinese national anthem.
"Our goal is start a student exchange program for students here and the Nankai High School to start in 2008," said Richard Norsigian, principal. "So we're discussing that so we can start planning fundraisers."
The families of South Lake and Lake Shore students who want to study in China will have to raise money to pay for the cost of travel, Norsigian said. The Nankai schools will provide accommodations and instruction, he said.
The group also visited with students and staff at the district's high school and its Pare Elementary School.
"We would like for our teachers and students to have the opportunity for an exchange in hopes that (all of you) can be a bridge between China and the United States," Kan Xiuyan told students at the middle school through interpreter Zhang Qingmin.