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Wherever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius Croton-harmon students and staff visit china

A group of Croton-Harmon High School students traveled halfway around the world over spring break, traveling to China and Shanghai, visiting world-famous sites and spending time learning from students at a high school in the country.

The students, along with Assistant Principal Mark Maxam and math teacher Gregory Bradley, visited Jian Ping High School and lived with host families during their stay.

Students began their trip by meeting their host students and families, learning about where they would stay. The following day, they took a bullet train to Souzhou, then enjoyed a riverboat cruise along an ancient canal stretching all the way to Beijing and once a major artery for trade with the interior. Created by digging, it was formerly the largest man-made canal waterway in the world.

Meeting the hosts.

The CHHS group also stopped at a silk factory, even getting a chance to try stretching the double cocoons into fill for blankets.

On a day trip to Shanghai, students took a sightseeing cruise on the Huangpu River, with clear views of the Shanghai financial district.

Students also spent time at Jian Ping International school, which focuses on preparing Chinese students to attend college abroad - most of them in the USA. Teaching methods at the international school focus on being more interactive and helps students to learn English. The group also had an interactive and hands-on demonstration of Chinese calligraphy.

Learning calligraphy

The CHHS students also visited the Shanghai financial center up close and personal, going up to the top of the world-famous Jin Mao Tower, which is taller than Two World Trade Center.

The group spent their fourth day at Jian Ping middle school, where the headmaster is a physics teacher. The CHHS visiting students tried out their Mandarin, were asked for autographs and enjoyed lunch at the school. The shrimp heads were interesting!

After a five-hour trip on the bullet train to Beijing, students were able to enjoy a highlight of the trip and an experience so many dream about -- a visit to the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs.

The Ming Tombs

The group ended its monumental trip visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, followed by Area 751 (a former industrial sector of the city that has been converted into "hip" area for young artists and galleries).

Inside the Forbidden City.
Outside the Water Cube.
Outside the Ming Tombs
Live scorpions ready for cooking.
The peony is China's national flower.

Photos by Mark Maxam, Eric Langbert, Veronica Herrero and Helen Roane

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