September 6, 2013

Second cultural exchange coming

Schools to welcome 31 Chinese students.

By Amie Sites

---- — A group of 34 Chinese citizens will visit Logansport for another cultural exchange visit from Tuesday to Saturday.

There will be 31 students ages nine to 12 and a group of three people – teachers and assistant principals – who will arrive Tuesday night and be paired with host families.

Columbia Elementary will host the cultural exchange visit and Chinese students will attend classes and become acquainted with a typical American school day, said Michele Starkey, Logansport Community School Superintendent.

Elizabeth Loposser, principal at Columbia Elementary, said students at the school are really excited.

“We always want to expand our students’ world and experience,” Loposser said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to do that.”

In May, a group of 30 Chinese citizens including students, teachers visited Logansport. Starkey said it is a great cultural exchange program to have and she is excited about the opportunity to do it again.

In addition to the students and teachers, 15 members of a Chinese education delegation will be arriving to Logansport late on Thursday. There will be a welcome party for them Friday at Columbia Elementary where they will see the visiting students. They will see the elementary before touring the high school and career center.

“Students get really excited about meeting new people from a new country and learning about them,” Starkey said. “They ask them a lot of questions and they’re kid questions. They’re proud of their school.”

The visitors are from arriving from Jinhua, in the Zhejiang province in China. The city of Logansport signed sister school agreements with seven Zhejiang schools in January.

On Thursday, the visiting students, teachers and their hosts will attend an event at Riverside Park, where they plan to ride the Dentzel Carousel. Friday night, they will attend a Logansport High School football game. Visitors will be introduced before the game.

“This is a unique experience for elementary kids,” Loposser said. “We’re looking forward to building a relationship.”

There will be a breakfast offered Saturday before a sendoff at noon. Starkey said one of the things they learned during the spring visit that there are similarities in what is taught, but there is a difference in how subjects are taught in the classroom. Starkey said they found the approach in Logansport schools to be more hands-on.

“Our students learn a lot by asking questions about their culture, which is one of the reasons they are here,” Starkey said. “These are experiences we give our kids that aren’t in a textbook. We need to teach our kids about being a part of a global society.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or