After 27 hours of travel, 16 students – age 13 to 15 – from Highland Community School arrived today at the Zhongyou Garden Hotel in China.
Highland is an MPS Montessori charter school, now located in the former MacDowell Montessori building on 17th and Highland.
The eighth and ninth grade students made the long trip across the Pacific in order to participate in China’s first-ever Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) International Conference, located in Zhengzhou in Henan Province.
The students prepared for the conference over the course of their sixth grade year by writing resolutions, practicing speeches and learning how to debate to defend their representative country at the conference every spring. In the past five years, Highland has sent students to New York City for a similar conference, but this marks the first time the school’s delegation has gone to China.
“During my experience in New York, I learned that many countries from around the world deal with some of the same issues, and that if we just worked together, regardless of our different backgrounds, we could solve many of our world’s problems,” said N’kia Matthews, an eighth grader participating from Highland Community School.
“I’m looking forward to visiting China so I can experience a different lifestyle and see first-hand how Chinese people live.”
Over the course of the 10-day stay, the Highland students will participate in the conference alongside fellow student representatives from across the globe, as well as experience and learn about Chinese culture first-hand. Part of that experience is visiting the original Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng City.
“Highland Community School fosters the development of the whole child through various educational activities taking place in our greater community,” said Kathy Ronco, Highland’s executive director.
“From local fieldtrips and partnerships to overnight camping, New York and now China, we value the external environment as a valid real-life classroom where our children will gain the experiences needed to excel in today’s ever-expanding global community.”
The students will return from their trip to China on Monday, Nov. 24, where they will be greeted home at a welcoming event at Community Cafe at Highland Community School. Mayor Tom Barrett is expected to be in attendance, as well as other local partners key to sending the delegation to China.
To follow the students’ journey, check out the trip’s Tumblr blog.