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Going global at St. Bede Academy

Students, staff and administration will have opportunities in China

PERU — St. Bede Academy has expanded its horizons and cross cultural education opportunities.

With the signing of an agreement with sister-school, Kinglee High School, St. Bede Academy now offers the opportunity to study a semester at the school located in Zhengzhou, China.

The opportunity will not be limited to students, but it will also include faculty and administration, as well.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Ted Struck announced the milestone in St. Bede history.

“At St. Bede Academy we’re always looking for ways to give students a unique opportunity to instill in them outstanding academics and character,” he explained. “We want our students to have the desire and inspiration to be good global citizens. Having the opportunity to study abroad in China is an outstanding cultural opportunity at any level, let alone a high school in the Illinois Valley.”

Struck explained throughout the next year, St. Bede curriculum will be integrated into Kinglee High School. Faculty members and Principal Michelle Mershon will travel to China to work with the faculty and administration of Kinglee.

“Courses at Kinglee will contain the same subject matter taught at St. Bede,” he said. “The transition will be seamless.”

Students who choose to study in China will stay with the boarders at the school during the week and will go home on weekends and stay with families of fellow students. Those St. Bede students who go to China to study will not incur other costs, just the regular St. Bede tuition.

“The cultural benefits are far beyond what I could even imagine,” Struck said.

In 2010, St. Bede formalized its international boarding program. In 2013, six students from Kinglee High School attended St. Bede.

“The result of this experiment has been nothing short of outstanding, and today we’re entering into the next phase of the very successful mutual, beneficial relationship,” he said.

Wei-Chi Lee, owner of Kinglee High School and Best Educational Organization, was present at the press conference with her husband, Yao-Bing Wang, general manager; Eileen Wang, director of International Affairs; and Jen-Hao Walter Hsu, director of International Department.

“Everyone in the world should have the right and opportunity to go anywhere in the world for a better education,” Lee said during the press conference. “Technology does indeed shorten time and space between people, but I believe that only through internationalization of education can we bring peoples’ minds closer together.”

She explained Kinglee High School has been dedicated to internationalizing education in China and how the partnership with St. Bede sets a stepping stone for internationalization of education in China.

“We will work with St. Bede to carry on this mission to other parts of the world,” she said.

Following the press conference, there was one question from the audience. With St. Bede being a Catholic high school, how would the area of religion be worked into curriculum at Kinglee High School?

Struck explained that religion would eventually be integrated into the curriculum and admitted it would be difficult to find a person to fill that role.

Lee understood how some might be concerned about the teaching of religion in China, where the government does hold regulation on religion, but explained at her school they find it important for everyone to choose their own religious faith and hold the respect for each others’ choosing. She assured religion would be integrated into the curriculum at Kinglee.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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