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28 high school students selected for summer Chinese study abroad program


Twenty-eight Delaware high school students have been chosen by the Delaware Department of Education to study in China expense-free this summer, thanks to an extended partnership agreement announced earlier this year by Gov. Jack Markell with the Wanxiang Group, China’s largest auto parts manufacturer, and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.


The students chosen for the Delaware Summer Chinese Language Initiative for Communicating STEM will study at the company’s facility in Hangzhou, China, June 25 to July 22. They will take daily language classes, visit local schools, participate in cultural activities and tour sites of science and technology companies.  Wanxiang, which is participating in President Obama’s 100,000 Strong China Initiative to send more American students to study in China, will fund all travel, living and educational expenses.


The program’s goal is to provide Delaware students already studying Mandarin Chinese an opportunity to gain cultural knowledge and to use their knowledge of the language in connection with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.


“These students are getting an opportunity to increase their Chinese language skills and gain first-hand experience in green energy solutions,” Markell said. “This initiative provides a once-in-a-lifetime trip while helping students explore the fields they want to pursue after high school and giving them skills that will open up amazing options for them when they enter the workforce.”


The Chinese study abroad program aligns with the Governor's vision that all Delaware students will develop high levels of language proficiency in preparation for a more-competitive and global marketplace. Wanxiang’s partnership is a result of its local connection – last year Wanxiang purchased a former automobile plant in Newport– and the company continues to hire local talent and expand in the United States.


“Today’s students must be able to compete for jobs against students from all over the world,” Secretary of Education Steve Godowsky said. “As the number of applicants for each job increases, so does the level of competition. Students who have the language and culture skills necessary to work in an international environment will not only stand out, they will be invaluable.”


To qualify, students had to be enrolled in Chinese Level II or higher in a Delaware public high school and agree to take the next higher level of Chinese during the 2016-17 academic year. They had to have at least a B average in the Chinese course and all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) coursework, and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students also had to be recommended by both their Chinese language teacher and their school counselor.


While in China, the students are expected to develop a multi-media presentation on one of the following topics: American vs. Chinese Perspectives on a Green Energy Solution, Chinese Language Skills as an Advantage for College and Career Options, or American and Chinese Cultural Differences and Ways to Facilitate International Cooperation and Collaboration.  They will present their projects to state and business officials upon their return.


The following students will depart for Hangzhou on Saturday, June 25: 


AI duPont High School, Red Clay Consolidated School District

Adeduni Florian, 11th grade

Megan Shockley, 11th grade

Cazuree Smith, 10th grade


Appoquinimink High School, Appoquinimink School District

Elijah Hadley, 10th grade

Zachery Kruger, 11th grade

Bright Lu, 10th grade


Caesar Rodney High School, Caesar Rodney School District

Sam Collins, 9th grade

Katana Edwards-Coope, 10th grade

Sammantha Ponsell, 11th grade

Ben Stauff, 11th grade


Conrad Schools of Science, Red Clay Consolidated School District

Ana Cristina Conde, 10th grade

Alissa Cortez, 11th grade

Declan Hendrix, 11th grade

Heather McClure, 10th grade

Raymond Pham, 10th grade

Dara Spavlik, 10th grade

Vasista Vovveti, 10th grade 


Newark Charter High School

Bryanna Boyd, 11th grade

Robin Depto, 9th grade

Justin Duca, 9th grade

Izaak Rodriguez, 10th grade

Noah Rossi, 9th grade

Lawson Shultz, 9th grade

Rachel Spruill, 9th grade 


Sussex Technical High School, Sussex Technical School District

Katie Ferree, 11th grade

David King, 11th grade

Jordan Macrohon, 11th grade

Lauren Thornberg, 11th grade


Alison May
(302) 735-4006