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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Open Doors and Open Arms of China...

Our 17 preschoolers walked like ducks in a row down the hall, and I stepped aside to watch them.
“Are you Mr. Kapanka?” asked the little girl at the end of the line.
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“Did you really eat rattlesnake soup?”
“yewwwww!” moaned the others.

I had to laugh. Who would have guessed after spending two weeks in China, my first question from students would be about rattlesnake soup?

It is actually very good. So is eel, squid, roasted snake, snails and lots of other menu items I politely tried each day. (Though I must admit, after five days, I was glad to see a KFC at Tienanmen Square.) 

(Double-click on photos to enlarge.)

I have been eager to tell you about a recent opportunity I had to represent my school in China as a guest of my friends at www.theedulink.com.  In 14 days from October 23 to November 5, we logged 18,000 air miles, which is roughly the same as flying around the world at Chicago’s latitude. With the exception of some rushed sight-seeing in Beijing, the trip was all business involving international student fairs, meetings with investors, and visits to various schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, and Nanning, China, (as well as 3-days in Bangkok, Thailand).

I was asked to bring as many Calvary promotional items as possible, but knowing little about this fast-developing nation, I was not sure how receptive students and parents would be to materials from a Christian school. Imagine my surprise on day six when we pulled up to one of the largest high schools in Zhengzhou, China, and saw a large electronic sign welcoming Calvary Christian School. (See video.)

Imagine spending three hours touring a school campus that looks more like a college than a high school with over 5,000 students in grades 10-12. Imagine meeting in a huge board room with a principal eager to make CCS a “sister school” in America. Not all schools became official partners, but I received the same hospitality everywhere our team went.

As I visited with English-speaking students across China, it was clear that many of them long to experience an American education.  

Calvary has been home to international students every year since 2002. This recent trip represents a strategic expansion of our international presence.  What an honor it is to share our perspective with these students—if for no other reason than to help them understand that America’s greatest values are not  determined by Hollywood and hip-hop music.

Like our Chinese friends, CCS values the heritage and ideals of our ancestors and founding fathers as well as the wisdom found in ancient words. The differences are important, to be sure, but communication begins where shared life overlaps.

It is our hope to expand our educational outreach to students in China. One of our pending plans involves a new private school in Shanghai. Words cannot express the experience of seeing this vast country on the cusp of unimaginable development and new educational horizons. It was an honor to be introduced to so many fellow educators in this far-away land. 

Please take a moment to view this photo-montage of highlights from the trip.

For some awe-inspiring professional time-lapse video footage of China CLICK HERE.

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