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Students eagerly await Chinese guest

By LIA ZHU/DENG YU (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-09-23 06:57:35


Students in Washington state are ready to give President Xi Jinping an enthusiastic welcome when he visits their high school on Wednesday.

The president will visit Lincoln High School in the port city of Tacoma. The school has been spruced up ahead of his arrival.

Senior student Kameron Smith told China Daily, "It's pretty cool that he is visiting us, out of so many schools."

Tacoma has been connected with China since 1993. Xi, who was the leader of Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, visited the city that year, and in 1994 the two cities established a sister-city relationship.

Twenty-two years later, Xi will again set foot in Tacoma. Lincoln High will be one of the stops during a two-day visit to Seattle, about 48 km north of Tacoma.

Built in 1913, it is one of Tacoma's most diverse high schools, with more than 13 percent of its students having Asian heritage.

Located in a quiet area of the city, workers have repainted the school stadium's outside doors and cleaned the red brick walls of the Gothic-style school building. Inside, drawings of pandas and Chinese flags decorated a billboard near the school auditorium.

In one classroom, Leena Loredo and her classmates had just finished a lesson on US government and policies. Xi will join them and their teacher Nate Bowling, who is expected to give a lecture on the differences between the Chinese and US presidencies.

Although students haven't yet been selected for this class, Loredo said she hoped to be chosen. "If I get to ask the president a question, I want to know how nerve-racking it can be to be president of such a big country," she said.

She then rushed off to a chorus rehearsal for a special musical presentation for Xi in which dozens of students will sing What a Wonderful World in English and the Chinese song In the Field of Hopes.

The students have been practicing singing in Chinese for two weeks under the instruction of a Chinese teacher.

The singers include five Chinese students visiting from the Affiliated High School of the Fuzhou Institute of Education.

Their school signed a memorandum of under standing with Lincoln High in 2008 to promote faculty, student, cultural and sports exchanges. Since then, professional exchanges have been made by teachers from both schools, as well as Tacoma officials. It is the first time that Fuzhou student shave visited Lincoln High.

Smith, who plays right offensive tackle for Lincoln's football team, said 50 players from the team would take part in a football drill for Xi. They have also prepared a special gift for him.

"It's going to be personal and American," he said. "And it's a secret."

Contact the writers through liazhu@chinadailyusa.com