New Ventures into a Country Unknown

New+Ventures+into+a+Country+Unknown

By Emily Riley

Growing up in confines of Loudoun County, it can often be hard to imagine going to high school anywhere else than Tuscarora. Students have become so overly accustomed to BYOT, flex time and the principles of rise that anything else seems like a foreign concept. However this year, teachers, students, and admin all are getting the chance to see what life and school is like outside of not only Tuscarora, but also the country.

Tuscarora participates in a program led by Lauren International Company, which has set up 20+ high schools with a sister school in another country. According to Laurel International, their main goal is to, “ provides professional and educational exchange programs. The Company offers chinese language classes, sister schools, summer internship, training, and agricultural leadership programs.”(Laurel International Corporation).

The partnership between Loudoun County and the sister school was born in 2011, when the principal of Freedom High School helped create a partnership between Loudoun County schools and Beijing no.1 high school. Beijing no.1 is one of the top public high schools in Beijing, with over 2,000 students between seventh and ninth grade. Tuscarora, Stone Bridge, Broad Run, and Riverside, all high schools in Loudoun County, participate in the sister school program.

Principal Croft started specifically working on setting up the relationship with the sister school during the 2015-2016 school year, but actually got the opportunity to travel to the sister school in early fall, 2016. Upon visiting the sister school, she got the opportunity to meet the principal of the school, who presented her with a gift to establish the friendship between Tuscarora and Beijing no.1. The gift was graciously accepted and exchanged with a picture of Tuscarora. That first meeting solidified a relationship with the sister school, and now even more people are returning to China over spring break including five students.

The students attending the trip get to fully immerse themselves in the culture of China by living with a host family and attending the Beijing no.1 school for two days. And just as a few kids are fully immersed in Chinese culture, a few students from Beijing no.1 were able to experience a semester of being at Tuscarora. “I think the biggest thing that people notice is that students at Tuscarora are respectful, and that they see the tenets of RISE we have here… I know our students will represent us well.” said Justin Martin , an assistant principal at Tuscarora who is attending the trip to Beijing no.1 in the spring. The experience from this trip gives Tuscarora students, teachers and admin the opportunity to not only learn but broaden their horizons and ultimately come back with knowledge that they can share with the whole school.  “I think the most important part is that they get to see how kids are interacting and the cultural aspects of what we do  and how it relates to their culture.” said Martin. This new adventure certainly makes the future of Tuscarora even more exciting!