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Language school honored by governor

Updated: 2014-10-13 11:53
By Liu Chang in Washington (China Daily USA)

 Language school honored by governor

Maurice Nachlas (left), chair of Maryland Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism, and Israel Patoka (right), executive director of Maryland Governor's Office of Community Initiatives, present 2014 Governor's Service Award to Guowei Zhang, principal of the Howard County Chinese School on Oct 9 in the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis, Maryland.  Provided to China Daily

After 16 years of expanding Chinese culture and language learning programs, the Howard County Chinese School (HCCS) has just been recognized by Maryland Governor O'Malley with one of 19 Governor's Service Awards for 2014.

The Governor's Offices of Community Initiatives and Service and Volunteerism presented the award to the school on Oct 9 in Annapolis, Maryland.

The selection comes out of a total of 216 nominees reaching across racial and ethnic backgrounds for contributing to the life and health of the state and its people.

Founded in 1998, HCCS has expanded from 80 to 1,000 students. The school's official goal is to foster the success of students in learning Chinese language and arts and promote traditional Chinese culture and values, as well as serving the needs of the local community, where nearly 9,000 Chinese reside.

According to school officials, the school's team spent 6,000 hours in 2013 on language education, heritage appreciation and community unity.

Over the past three years, the school has been cited as a "model overseas school" by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of China. Through engaging in events such as the lunar new year gala and graduation ceremony among the Chinese community, the school strengthens essential understanding of Chinese culture and community affairs.

HCCS embraces the idea of going beyond language training to actively serve the community. It partners with the Chinese American Doctors' Association to honor five 9th and 10th-grade students every year, recognizing their volunteer work throughout the county's Chinese community.

In September 2013, the school established a formal partnership with the Maryland Governor's Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to collaborate with Asian ethnic groups in the county and state.

Guowei Zhang, principal of HCCS, said the youngest learners in the school are only 4 years old. "Eighty percent of students are descendants of Chinese immigrants. We want to teach them Chinese values and ethics, which form the essence of Chinese culture," Zhang said.

Guoyi Fu, chair of the school's board of directors, said more Chinese immigrant parents want their children to learn Chinese. "Since their children were born and raised here, they won't have trouble integrating into the mainstream society," Fu said. "But parents want them to keep their cultural heritage because with China's enhanced world role they are proud of their homeland."

changliu@chinadailyusa.com

 

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