Fort Bend ISD Welcomed 20 Foshan High School Students for Educational Exchange Program


Dulles High School (DHS) Principal Ronnie Edwards, DHS students Samuel Ramirez, Sarah Zou, Taylor Zylicz, Marina Baez, Sanika Phanse, Brittany Dominguez, Assistant Principal Corey Stewart and Chinese delegates Leo, Vicky, Sunny, Cherry, Pearl and Cindy at DHS during the two-week educational program.

Dulles High School (DHS) Principal Ronnie Edwards, DHS students Samuel Ramirez, Sarah Zou, Taylor Zylicz, Marina Baez, Sanika Phanse, Brittany Dominguez, Assistant Principal Corey Stewart and Chinese delegates Leo, Vicky, Sunny, Cherry, Pearl and Cindy at DHS during the two-week educational program.

Fort Bend Independent School District  (FBISD) welcomed 20 students from China’s Foshan #2 High School for a two-week educational exchange program, sponsored by the Fort Bend County Global Initiative in conjunction with FBISD. The students arrived in the United States on Sunday, September 20th and connected with their host families at a welcome dinner at Safari Texas Ranch. During their visit, the students were introduced to the American educational system, developed their English language skills, enjoyed southern cuisine and other aspects of American culture.

Leo Zirui was one of six exchange students to attend host campus Dulles High School. “I enjoyed studying with my American friends and teachers and learning more about American culture,” he said. Seven other Chinese delegates attended Austin High School, and the remaining seven students were at Kempner High School.

To help get the delegates acclimated to their new school environment, the students were paired with an FBISD high school student to shadow throughout the day. After school, the students enjoyed time with their host families to learn about their traditions and way of life.

Austin High School Associate Principal Janis Longmire was host parent to two exchange students, Ellen and Wendy. “I was really excited about being a host mother,” said Longmire. “Our first moments together were spent learning their likes and dislikes, especially regarding food. I then had to familiarize them with various items in my home, such as shower fixtures, because they’re different than what they have in China.”

Delegates enjoyed riding a float in the Fort Bend County Fair Day Parade.

Delegates enjoyed riding a float in the Fort Bend County Fair Day Parade.

Longmire arranged several after-school and weekend trips for the girls as well. “I took them bowling and to the Palladium theatre for a movie. My college-age daughter and I also planned a tour of the University of Houston so that they could see what college life is all about.”

FBISD also planned several educational and recreational trips for the group. The delegates visited NASA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, enjoyed a Dynamo soccer game, a FBISD high school football game and other fun events. One of the highlights of their visit included riding on their very own float in the Fort Bend County Fair Day Parade.

“We wanted them to experience as much of the Fort Bend County experience as possible during their two-week stay with us,” said Lorelei Thorp, Kempner High School English as a Second Language teacher. Thorp worked closely with FBISD’s Deputy Superintendent Dr. Christie Whitbeck in spearheading the educational exchange program in FBISD. She and other adult chaperones accompanied the youth on their fieldtrips throughout their stay.

In 2012, Fort Bend County leaders, including representatives from FBISD, Lamar Consolidated School District and the University of Houston at Sugar Land, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chancheng District Bureau of Education Foshan City of the People’s Republic of China to form friendly cooperation relating to the economy and trade, education and training, environment protection and cultural exchange. Through the educational partnership, students of each school district receive various learning opportunities through such activities as student and teacher exchanges, summer learning camps and cultural exchanges in sports, choir and other areas of learning.