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Turkey and Teaching Brings Cultures Together in Milford

Thanksgiving brought together the Indians and the Pilgrims. And now, hundreds of years later, it has once again brought together two different cultures—this time in Milford. On November 20, Milford High School sponsored An American Thanksgiving, a dinner that provided the guests an opportunity to share in some turkey talk as well as celebrate the recent partnership between Milford Public Schools and schools in Shijiazhuang, China.

The evening brought together local school administrators and students from Milford and Uxbridge as well as several special visitors from China, including several Chinese exchange students now attending Milford High School and two school officials from China. The dinner gave the foreign guests a small glimpse into what the November holiday is about.

The partnership between Milford and Shijiazhuang actually began in April when Milford Superintendent Robert Tremblay took part in the U.S.-China Administrator Shadowing Project, which allowed him to travel to Shijiazhuang and other parts of the region to study the educational system there, as well as experience its culture.

Now, Milford is playing host to its Chinese counterparts. Three exchange students from China are currently attending Milford High School for the school year and residing with local families. And from November 15 – 21, Jiao Zhichen, Assistant Principal at Zhengding Senior High School in Shijiazhuang, was a guest of Tremblay's as an Administrative Shadower visiting schools and classrooms in Milford. During his stay he also enjoyed some sightseeing in Boston and attended a Celtics game.

At the end of Zhichen's visit, the American Thanksgiving dinner held during which guests enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner which included all the traditional fixings including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, as well as apple and pumpkin pie for dessert. Local favorite, Oliva's, catered the dinner.

Through an interpreter, Jiao spoke to everyone about his time visiting Milford schools and what he's learned. "I have seen firsthand what education is like in the United States and I have learned a lot," he said. "Education reflects the values of a society and what I have seen reflects well of you." He spoke of some of the educational differences he sees between the United States and those in China. "In China we focus more on teaching students the basics while in the United States, education really focuses on developing skills. In closing, Jiao stated he hopes the success of the Shadowing Project will continue. "As long as we keep up these exchanges, we'll always learn from each other."

School officials and students from the Uxbridge Public Schools, another partner in the Shadowing Project, also attended the dinner as did Dr. David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education.


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