102617 Education: Chinese principals tour Waccamaw High
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Education: Chinese principals tour Waccamaw High

By Joshua Ford
For the Observer

Two cultures met last week when a delegation of Chinese educators toured Waccamaw High. The tour was part of a training program organized by Coastal Carolina University for 25 middle and high school principals and members of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

“It was a great cultural exchange,” David Hammel, principal of Waccamaw High, said. “I learned we’re a lot more similar than we are different, and our students had an absolute blast getting to interact with the delegation and getting to learn some of their strategies and their culture, and they got to see some of our strategies and culture. I thought it was very good.”

The student council led the delegation to several classrooms to observe and see firsthand what students do. “It’s cool seeing our school through the eyes of somebody from another country, somebody that’s not familiar with American education,” Hunter Lane, a senior, said. “You get a new appreciation for Waccamaw through somebody else’s eyes.”

One of the classes that the delegation toured was Sharon Bray’s AP physics class. “We were doing projectile motion,” Bray said. “So we were showing how footballs get thrown and how tennis rackets hit the ball, and how we can show math equations to figure out where the ball will land at certain points in time.”

She also found the culture exchange intriguing. “I liked seeing people who are different than who we are,” Bray said. “They didn’t get to interact very much but, I liked seeing their interest in what we were doing and just being able to be with people who are different culturally than we’re used to.”

Lane ended up befriending Dinghua Wang, a director general for the ministry. “He spoke English probably better than everybody, except the translators, and we just talked about his travels from Russia and to South Korea and places across the world where he had been. We also talked about his daughter who’s at Harvard,” Lane said. “He’s a really chill dude.”

The delegation gave a presentation to the students and answered questions. “They provided us some meaningful insights,” Hammel said.

One question: how much does college cost in China. One delegate said $1,000 to $3,000. The Waccamaw students were stunned.

The Coastal Carolina program was one of only two in the county. “We wanted to set everything up right because we want to put our best foot forward for the Chinese delegation,” Hammel said. “I was proud of our teachers and students.”

“The only time I really got nervous was when I was walking out to the bus to greet them,” Lane said. “After that, they were just all smiling and they were all happy. So it kind of created an easy-going environment.”

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