School thrilled with Xi's response


Lynchelle Siu (left) , Christa Lackey (second right) and Kyla Eastman (right) from Lincoln High School pose with students from Bolivia at the USA booth when they visited Shanghai and participated in Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp in 2019. [Provided to China Daily]

A high school in Tacoma, Washington, was once again pleased to receive a message from China.

It was the second time they received such a communication, the first in 2016 — from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

About four weeks ago, Patrick Erwin, principal of Lincoln High School, sent a communication to President Xi. He wrote about the exchanges between his school and China over the past years and how the educational partnership is important to his students.  

"President Xi is a strong believer in educational exchanges. He had written to my students before. But I never had an expectation for this response," said Erwin.

Erwin got a message on Monday from Xi via the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco. Xi said he had received the letter and encouraged students at the school to build a bridge for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.  

Xi visited Lincoln High School in 2015, at the start of a state visit. He brought gifts including a ping pong table, books on China, and later sent a personal invitation for the students to visit China, building friendship between the two countries' youths.   

Xi invited the students to China, and in 2016, nearly 100 of the students took up the offer. He and first lady Peng Liyuan sent them a letter afterward inviting them to return. 

Since then, the school has arranged visits to China every year. Students have been visiting cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dujiangyan in Sichuan province and Fuzhou in Fujian province.   

The last time Lincoln High students got a chance to visit China was in July 2019, when they participated in the International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp in Shanghai, an opportunity for foreign students to learn about traditional Chinese culture through lessons and outdoor activities with local volunteers.  

They still regularly communicate on WeChat with their friends from Shanghai, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere.     

Around three years ago, we took five students to visit China and one of them did not know what to expect, Erwin said. "He was excited to go but he had never traveled, never been on a plane. Not long ago, when I saw this student, who is in college, he gave me a hug and said he thinks about the trip to China every day," Erwin said.

"It is a life-changing experience, both in terms of the travel itself, and the exposures to the culture, the history and the Chinese people," Erwin said. "My students all want to go back to China and study in China."  

Due to the political situation between the two countries and the coronavirus pandemic, the trips to China last year were canceled, but Erwin said that as soon as travel is viable, there will be another student trip to China.  

"We still don't have specific plans in terms of where we would go," Erwin told China Daily but said, "Chengdu with the panda base" is always on the priority list.

The city of Tacoma and the Washington State Panda Foundation gathered about 7,000 surgical face masks and sent them to Fuzhou early last year. Last summer, when a shortage of personal protective equipment was endangering the safety of Tacoma, Fuzhou donated more than 70,000 N95 masks to the city.

林肯高中的林雪儿·肖(左)、克里斯塔·莱基(右二)和凯拉·伊斯曼(右三)在参观上海和参加2019年上海国际青年互动友谊营时,与玻利维亚学生在美国展台合影。【提供给中国日报】华盛顿塔科马的一所高中再次高兴地收到来自中国的信息。这是他们第二次收到这样的信息,第一次是在2016年——来自中国习近平主席。大约四周前,林肯高中校长帕特里克·欧文给习主席发了一封信。他写了他的学校和中国在过去几年的交流,以及教育伙伴关系对他的学生有多重要。“习主席是教育交流的坚定信徒。他以前给我的学生写过信。但我从未对这种回应抱有期望,”欧文说。欧文周一通过中国驻旧金山总领事馆从Xi得到了一条消息。Xi说,他收到了这封信,并鼓励学校的学生为两国人民之间的交流架起一座桥梁。Xi在2015年访问了林肯高中,开始了他的国事访问。他带来了礼物,包括一张乒乓球桌、关于中国的书籍,后来还亲自邀请学生访问中国,建立了两国青年之间的友谊。Xi邀请学生来中国,2016年,近100名学生接受了邀请。之后,他和第一夫人彭丽媛给他们发了一封信,邀请他们回国。从那以后,学校每年都安排访问中国。学生们已经参观了北京、上海、成都、四川都江堰和福建福州等城市。林肯高中学生最后一次有机会访问中国是在2019年7月,当时他们参加了上海的国际青年互动友谊营,这是一个让外国学生通过课程和与当地志愿者的户外活动了解中国传统文化的机会。他们仍然定期在微信上与来自上海、新西兰、澳大利亚和其他地方的朋友交流。欧文说:“大约三年前,我们带了五名学生访问中国,其中一名学生不知道会发生什么。”。“他很想去,但他从未旅行过,也从未坐过飞机。欧文说:“不久前,当我看到这个大学生时,他给了我一个拥抱,说他每天都在想去中国的旅行。欧文说:“这是一次改变人生的经历,无论是从旅行本身,还是从接触文化、历史和中国人民的角度来看。”。“我的学生都想回国留学。”由于两国政治局势和冠状病毒大流行,去年的中国之行被取消,但欧文表示,一旦旅行可行,将有另一次学生中国之行。“我们还没有具体的计划去哪里,”欧文告诉中国日报,但他说,“有熊猫基地的成都”总是在优先考虑的名单上。塔科马市和华盛顿州熊猫基金会收集了大约7000个外科口罩,并于去年年初将其送往福州。去年夏天,当个人防护设备的短缺危及塔科马的安全时,福州向该市捐赠了7万多个N95口罩。

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