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Published: Monday, 6/22/2009

Central Catholic program to get early taste of China

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Central Catholic High School will get firsthand experience in Chinese culture as it prepares to add study of the language to its international baccalaureate diploma program.

Michael Kaucher, the school's principal, and Marie Arter, its director of curriculum, are to travel this week to China, and a group of students is to be there next month.

The trips are through the Confucius Institute, which promotes Chinese language and culture around the world, and are not directly tied to the international baccalaureate program.

But Mr. Kaucher said that because the program requires a foreign language component and Central Catholic selected Chinese, it would be a good opportunity to visit the country.

"The more we looked into it, we saw it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.

The local administrators will be among 400, including about 30 from Ohio, traveling to China for the seven-day trip, Mr. Kaucher said.

The groups will be divided to visit different parts of the country.

The Central Catholic leaders will go to Zhejiang province, where they will visit primary and secondary schools.

"I think it's going to be such a great opportunity for us to connect with the world and bring it here to Central Catholic," Ms. Arter said.

Central is the first Catholic school in Ohio to offer the international baccalaureate program.

The two-year advanced-curriculum program for high school juniors and seniors is widely recognized by colleges and universities.

Central Catholic offers French, Spanish, German, and Latin, and the Chinese addition will be required for students in the international baccalaureate program.

A University of Toledo professor will teach Chinese at the high school, Mr. Kaucher said.

Six of the 16 Central Catholic students in the international baccalaureate program are to visit China thorough a similar program in July and are to stay for two weeks.

A couple thousand students from across the count are participating in that visit, Ms. Arter said.

Jason Mossing, who will be a junior in the fall in the program and is one of the students scheduled to make the trip, said it "is a once-in-a-lifetime chance."

He added, "I've heard from people who have been there once or twice who said it's very neat and they want to go back."

Jason, 16, who lives in Sylvania, said he wants to see the Great Wall, view different types of architecture, and try the food.

He said he and his classmates will be pioneers as the first in the international baccalaureate program and he's excited about the cultural aspects to be included in the studies.

Those include the summer project to find folk tales and legends from other cultures.

"It sounded like it would be a very neat experience, really challenging," Jason said.

"After I heard a lot more about it, I thought it would be really good and helpful in later experiences."

To be eligible for the program, students must be enrolled in higher-level math, take honors courses, write an essay, and conduct a successful interview.

Students in the program take advanced courses in math, English, social studies, science, and foreign language.

The program requires an independent research project with a 4,000-word essay, an interdisciplinary critical-thinking "Theory of Knowledge" course, and a creativity, action, and service program for extracurricular activity.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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