As most of you know, I visited China again last month in an effort to spread the good word about Carlisle School and establish a steady stream of motivated and talented Chinese students for our international program. I found myself renewing contacts I made last October during my first visit to cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou — and I had the opportunity to develop new friends in Xi’an and Chengdu.
Last fall I also visited Shenzhen Senior High School to begin a conversation about developing a Dual Diploma program, in which Chinese students would spend the first year and a half of high school at Shenzhen and come to Carlisle mid-way through their junior year to finish their course of study. At the completion of their senior year in May, they would receive a diploma with both school seals. October’s conversation led to the Winter Program, when we hosted twelve students from Shenzhen for two weeks. Our visitors’ enthusiasm for our school community convinced the president of Shenzhen Senior High School to move forward quickly to confirm the Dual Diploma program.
Last month we discussed details and addressed parents and students about the possibilities and benefits of such a program. Just last night I received word from Mr. Daniel Ouyang, Director of the school’s International Division, that there is much interest in the program, and that we may well expect ten to fifteen students to join us in January. The logistics surrounding this program will provide a challenge, but Carlisle has never backed away from one of those, and we will tackle this one with vigor, knowing full well how this will benefit our school.
I must say that I am proud that our school stands in the vanguard of the movement to develop this kind of relationship with schools abroad, most particularly in China. I hope that, in time, we are able to hammer out similar programs with schools in other countries. Ultimately, we are providing for Carlisle students doorways to the rest of the world and making good on our promise to develop a global citizenry.
Within the six months, I hope to announce details for an opportunity for some of our students and teachers to visit Shenzhen, a truly remarkable city. In 1979, this small fishing village on the southeast coast across the bay from Hong Kong was home to some 30,000 inhabitants. Today, the metropolitan area is populated by some 18 million people. Imagine that!
Truly, there is much to be imagined — and accomplished — in the coming months as we get ready to launch this historic program. It is a great day to be a Chief!