By Alison Murtagh
Recently, a handful of students from the Hengshui School in China came to visit Andover High. They shadowed students and discovered what the average day is like for a high school student across the world—and realized it is nothing like home.
This was all made possible due to a grant from a program known as “Confucius Classroom” awarded to Andover High a few years ago. This program encourages the teaching of the Chinese language in schools throughout the U.S. and aims to help connect American and Chinese students across the world.
“In the U.S. they have one hundred co-host schools. And luckily Andover High was in the top fifty,” said Mrs. Lynn, the Chinese teacher here at AHS.
The school has had the grant for a few years, but until recently had trouble finding a partner school in China. Through Dr. Lord and his connections, AHS became connected with the Hengshui School.
The Hengshui School is located in a suburb just outside of Beijing, China. It is one of the top ten high schools in the country and demands a lot from its students. A typical day begins with waking up at 5:15 a.m., and by 5:30 starting a thirty-minute morning exercise routine. When 7 a.m. rolls around, students have started their first of 13 classes for the day. Each class has between 70 and 80 students with one teacher. The final class ends at 9:30 p.m. and by 9:45 students are expected to be asleep in their dormitories.
When asked if they enjoyed the school day at Andover High, Mrs. Lynn said that the Henghui students “loved it. They don’t want to leave. They liked it better here.”
In exchange, 10 students from Andover High will be attending the Henghui School over April vacation. They will have to adapt to the life of the Chinese students by sleeping in their dormitories and sitting in on some of their classes over a course of five days. Mrs. Lynn and Mr. DeFusco (from Wood Hill Middle School) will be chaperoning the trip. They won’t be spending their whole break in another school though—students from Andover will also get to experience local tourist sites and famous Beijing landmarks.