WEST ORANGE, NJ - Students from the Hangzhou Foreign Language School in China were welcomed to West Orange High School (WOHS) by the West Orange community on Tuesday. Hangzhou has been the "Sister School" to WOHS since 2010.
The Chinese Program in the West Orange Public Schools was chosen to be a member of the first “20 Confucius Classrooms” in the United States by the Asia Society, as well as the Hanban, the Central Chinese Education Committee. Their goal is to utilize "20 Confucius Classrooms" as a Model Program in Chinese instruction. Approximately 200 students in West Orange schools, from grades 8-12, are currently studying Chinese, with Honors and AP courses available at the high school. The Asia Society and Hanban worked with the high school to facilitate exchange opportunities with the Hangzhou School through the Partner School Program.
Over the past few years, several WOHS students have taken the opportunity to travel to the Hangzhou School in China. (Hangzhou is a city about 105 miles south west of Shanghai.) While the American students reside with host families from the Hangzhou School in China, the Chinese students are welcome by host families from WOHS when they visit New Jersey.
The itinerary for the delegation of eight students and two teachers from China includes visiting WOHS, Princeton University, Washington, D.C. and New York City.
The Hangzhou students were welcomed to the high school by Laura Arrendondo, Supervisor of World Languages, who also thanked Chinese teachers and Chinese Culture Club advisors Ms. Yajing Li and Ms. Yun Abernathy, for helping to organize the students' schedule for the week, along with the help of district personnel.
WOHS Principal Hayden Moore then welcomed the students to the high school and shared about the school's diversity and cohesiveness as a school community.
Mayor Robert Parisi attended the breakfast, welcoming the students and thanking the host families for opening their homes to the Chinese students and teachers.
This week's snowfall and subsequent snow days were taken in stride by the delegation. “We have some snow where we live,” said Hangzhou English Language teacher Ms. Yu Xiao. “Only once in recent memory have we seen significant snow--that was last year and we were unprepared since we have no snow removal equipment in our city. Very much like what happened in the south of your country this week.”