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  • Michelle Obama gives keynote speech

    On January 19, 2011, students, teachers, and school leaders from 21 schools in Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms Network traveled to Washington, DC to attend an event with First Lady Michelle Obama, where she underscored the Obama administration's commitment to the “100,000 Strong Initiative.

    As a Confucius Classroom, East-West was able to send Ms. Chang and Farisa Ahmed to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Farisa was thrilled when she found out that she would be East-West's student representative:

    When I was told I was given the opportunity to go meet President Hu Jin Tao and First Lady Michelle Obama, it was a moment of complete bliss. All my years at east west just flew through my brain like a tornado. I was very grateful to everyone who made the trip possible. Excitement rushed into my heart, because it was the first time I would be visiting the nation’s capital. Washington D.C just had a certain ring to it that made me jump for joy. Over the course of two days China and U.S. relations was the only thing I could think about.

    In her speech, Mrs. Obama said that by studying abroad, students are helping to make America stronger. She quoted her husband, saying: “America has no better ambassadors to offer than our young people.” Mrs. Obama’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion with students who shared anecdotes of their experiences learning Mandarin and studying in China. Afterward, student representatives shook hands and chatted with the First Lady.

    The event, which took place on the campus of Howard University, coincided with the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington, DC.

    Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms were invited to this event because of their strong commitment to building an educational partnership with schools in China, supporting their students in learning Chinese, and sending them to study in China.

    At Morning Muster the day after she came back from Washington D.C., Farisa described her experience in front of the student body, but confided that she wasn't so sure about it being a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity":

    "When I shook her hand, I had a feeling I was going to see her again."

    More photos under the cut and more to follow!

    Michelle Obama gives a keynote speech

    Michelle Obama onstage with students reps

    Michelle Obama speaks to Confucius Classroom students

    For more information:

    Asia Society: www.AsiaSociety.org/Chinese

    White House press release: First Lady Michelle Obama urges American youth to strengthen US-China ties

    The 100,00 Strong Initiative: http://www.state.gov/p/eap/regional/100000_strong/index.htm

  • Last Thursday, we held a reception to officially unveil the inspirational signs that we placed throughout the school over the summer. The signs have quotes from influential leaders, which were voted on by the teachers and principal. The signs were produced using funds from our Gates Foundation grant.

    Councilman Peter Koo unveils a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

    In attendance were Flushing community leaders, East-West staff, students Katherine Gutierrez and Brian Park, Councilman Peter Koo and Emily Kaiser, a reporter from the Queens Chronicle.

    The ceremony preceded a meeting of the Community Advisory Board, a crucial part of our school's support network. The Community Advisory Board is comprised of Flushing community leaders who meet regularly with East-West staff to help guide our decisions affecting the school and community.

    Community Advisory Board

    From left to right: Kenneth Cohen, Valerie Littleton-Cohen, Shirley Bryant, Dorothy Woo, John Henry Byas. Not shown: Linna Yu, Principal Sherman, Julia Cheng

    Here is an excerpt from the Queens Chronicle article on the event:

    “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” reads one of nine new banners unveiled last Thursday at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing.
    Faculty, students and community members on hand to celebrate the event hope those words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and others, provide inspiration as the small school continues to grow.

    “We thought it would be very nice to unify the school under these banners and quotes,” Principal Ben Sherman said. “It’s very common when you go to charter schools to see these large inspirational signs, but these are very unusual in public schools, so we wanted to give these their own public spaces.”

    Click here to read the article in its entirely.

  • Mr. Sherman writes:

    • There are some new art displays near Mr. Marini’s room. A particularly tasty one explores popcorn. Students examined everyday popcorn in a series of sketches. On another board, Mr. Marini learned about differences in brain functionality by participating in an assignment in which students had to draw the same face using only their right or left hands.

    Ms. Oh writes:

    • Ms. Park, our high school guidance counselor, has been working diligently behind the scenes with many of our students on a variety of issues. She counsels students individually and in groups. One of the skills that Ms. Park counsels students on is organization. During one of these sessions, she has the student create a monthly calendar, in which the student must reflect and write down different assignments and upcoming exams. In addition, she teaches the student what to do if s/he is absent from school and needs to make up work.Here is a quick activity, inspired by Ms. Park. Give index cards to your class and then ask them to write down the names and obtain phone numbers of three classmates. This way, students always have someone to call in case they are sick and need to get information on assignments.
  • Ms. Rhi writes:

    On January 13th, ten of our EWSIS students attended the 51st Korean Night Gala & Korean American Day Celebration. We sang American and Korean National Anthems in front of approximately 1,000 guests. Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Black, and City Comptroller John Liu were there together with many other renowned leaders of our community. Our students sang gracefully with confidence.  We enjoyed ourselves and it was a great experience for all of us.
    We asked the performers about what they thought of the event:

    Grace Oh

    The trip to the 51st KAAGNY Gala had truly been a memorable experience. We went to the Marriot Hotel to sing the Korean and American national anthems in front of many people. We had seen Mayor Bloomberg and seen Korean dances that represented parts of the Korean culture. Just from being there was a great experience as I’ve got to see new things that I never saw or heard before. I myself am Korean and this event helped me to learn a few more facts on my culture such like the Korean anthem. It was a frightening and thrilling experience that allowed people from different cultures to connect with Korean culture and so made this event very memorable.

    Ashley Vincent

    I went to a Gala to celebrate the fifty-first anniversary organized by the Korean American Association of Greater New York.  It was lots of fun because the venue was really beautiful. I felt proud to represent my school in front of almost 1,000 Korean-Americans and influential figures in NYC. This was a great opportunity for me and the nine other EWSIS student to publicize our school to the Korean American community.

    Continue reading for more student impressions on the event!

    Jiaxin Santos
     

    The experience for singing up on stage was very nerve racking and I had a stomach cramp which was probably caused by me being too nervous.  But when it came to the actual thing, I remembered what my singing teacher told me and I sang as loud as I could.

    Kevin Li

    When I went to the Gala, I wasn’t nervous at all.  Actually it was fun to be singing to a lot of people.  Even though I didn’t practice that much, I think I was pretty Ok.

    Jason Lee

    When I went to the singing, I was nervous that I couldn’t sing well because I was like what’s going to happen if I couldn’t sing at all. Then while I was singing, I got used to it and I was not nervous.  When I entered the ball room of Marriot Marquis Hotel Times Square, I saw the stage and I was in shock. And then it went on and I had a good time.

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    Grace Oh

    The trip to the 51st KAAGNY Gala had truly been a memorable experience. We went to the Marriot Hotel to sing the Korean and American national anthems in front of many people. We had seen Mayor Bloomberg and seen Korean dances that represented parts of the Korean culture. Just from being there was a great experience as I’ve got to see new things that I never saw or heard before. I myself am Korean and this event helped me to learn a few more facts on my culture such like the Korean anthem. It was a frightening and thrilling experience that allowed people from different cultures to connect with Korean culture and so made this event very memorable.

    Ashley Vincent

    I went to a Gala to celebrate the fifty-first anniversary organized by the

    Korean American Association of Greater New York.  It was lots of fun because

    the venue was really beautiful. I felt proud to represent my school in front of

    almost 1,000 Korean-Americans and influential figures in NYC. This was a great

    opportunity for me and the nine other EWSIS student to publicize our school

    to the Korean American community.

  • This article was written by Ms. Pechersky, a special education teacher at East-West. They were published in the Forum, a well-respected Russian intellectual newspaper that is published city-wide. She writes:

    "This article introduces the readers to the history, mission, student achievements, curriculum, special events, and traditions of our school. The students share what they like about the school, why they chose it, what languages they study and what their family heritage is. I interviewed several teachers and Mr. Sherman along with many students."

    Click on the thumbnails to see them at full-size.

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