Niagara Gazette — Special visitors are headed to Lewiston-Porter, but officials fear there’s no place to put them.
Lew-Port High School principal Paul Casseri is looking for host families to support five to seven Chinese students visiting the area and the school district from Feb. 4 through Feb. 9.
“We’re looking for middle school or high school families,” Casseri said. “But we’ll be interested in all parties who want to volunteer. That’s pretty much the only requirement. They should contact the high school by Wednesday and we’ll go from there.”
As with the past seven years, the Chinese students are visiting from Lew-Port’s sister school, Tianjin No. 2 high school. Like in past years, the students will stay five days before continuing a brief tour of the United States, including visits to New York City and Washington D.C.
Tianjin, a coastal port city, is China’s fourth-most dense metropolis in terms of population and one of four controlled and maintained by the country’s central government. It’s located in the northeast portion of the country.
While Lew-Port welcomes visitors from its partner school each year, this group in particular is one Casseri is looking forward to seeing. Through the school’s partnership with Tianjin No. 2, the Chinese government organization Hanban created to advance Chinese education outside the country and the University at Buffalo’s Confucius Academy, a brand new feature to the Lew-Port education experience is opening its door officially come Saturday, Feb. 8.
Casseri said the visitors will play a role in kicking off the official beginning of Lew-Port’s own Confucius Classroom.
“Our sister school will be involved in the grand opening ceremony of our new Confucius classroom,” he said. “We’ll also have students from our high school performing that evening, along with outside performers coming in from the Chinese Club of Western New York, Golden Summit Martial Arts Studio and from UB. It’s really a community celebration, so we want to let the community know they’re more than welcome to attend the ceremony, as well.”
The celebration and grand opening of the classroom, which Casseri said is decorated in a Chinese spring festival theme, will begin at 4 p.m. Feb. 8 with a reception, where students and teachers, parents and interested community members can see the room, look at artwork and get a feel for what the classroom will offer. The formal program will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and include the, among the guest performers, presentations from the district’s elementary school children currently learning Chinese culture in their buildings.
Casseri praised the efforts of UB’s Confucius Academy and its executive director, Yang Wenzhong, for the support in bringing the school’s own vision to reality in the two years it spent in partnership.
“UB has supported the classroom tremendously,” Casseri said. “They’ve helped with developing a budget, with professional development for our teachers, they’ve supported this program with students,” he said. “They’ve also provided the decorations and other resources to support our classroom. We can’t thank the UB Confucius Academy enough for its role.”Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.