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Middle school students, principal traveling to China

Staff Report~ 4/30/2014

Sonoran Trails Middle School Principal Bill Dolezal and six of his students will be traveling to China this summer from May 27 to June 5, thanks to a grant complementing efforts to establish an overseas “sister school.”
Sonoran Trails started their current Chinese program with the help of the United States Department of State and a grant through their Teachers of Critical Language Program.
Dolezal received a follow up grant to travel to China in order to establish an official “sister school” relationship with No. 6 Middle School in Yichang, Hubei Province. This is the home school of STMS’s first guest teacher, Li Qiong. This was completed in the summer of 2012.
Since then, students from the two schools have exchanged email, letters, videos and even talked via Skype; however, the summer 2014 trip will mark the first visit by students from either country.
The tour will take the STMS group to Beijing where they will watch the flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square and pass the square to the treasure-filled Forbidden City. They will ride in a manpowered rickshaw through the Hutongs, have lunch with a local family and walk on the Great Wall of China.
From Beijing, the group will travel to Xi’an. Their journey though China will continue as they explore the area’s attractions, including the massive mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Qinshihuang. Sometimes referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, students will see first-hand the famous terracotta warriors, chariots and weapons.
From Xi’an, the group will travel to Yichang to visit their sister school for the first time. No. 6 Middle School of Yichang is hosting a tour of the Yangtze River, so students can see some of the natural beauty of the area, and then students will spend a day experiencing a Chinese school in session.
The adventure will end in Shanhai with exploration of the Bund and some local cultural experiences.
CCUSD officials have also expressed excitement that students from the sister school will be coming to visit STMS in August of next school year.