Chinese Camp: August 12-17 2018
The Calverton School has as our mission statement a core goal to prepare students for higher education and responsible citizenship in a democratic and global community. As an International Baccalaureate Diploma School, Calverton adheres to the IB mission, namely “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
Inspired by its mission the Calverton School, in the weeks leading up to the opening of the 2018-2019 school year, welcomed a wonderful cohort of Chinese middle-schoolers and their two adult leaders, Johnson Wu and Wendy Zhu. The group embarked upon a five day educational experiment in ‘intercultural understanding and respect’.
Fresh from a week of homestay in Amish country, Pennsylvania, the group arrived by van on Sunday, August 12 in Baltimore where I, John Alter, and Justin Ouellette met them. Immediately we were struck by the intelligence, curiosity, and respectfulness of the group. After an Indian meal in Annapolis—no reason not to be immediately global!—we headed for the OneWorld Village where Justin welcomed the group into his home. His hospitality was instrumental in establishing an instantaneous sense of comfort and trust.
Note: the OneWorld Village is a visible, physical manifestation of our mission.
On Monday, after a good breakfast catered by Caney Creek (they fed us throughout), we made our way over to school where we enjoyed a morning of interactive art and music activities, thanks to Susan Dice, Barbara Brower, Maddie Carrino, and Ashley Ehrmentraut. One of the students spent a happy hour with Yvette Burgos, considering photography. Later in the day we played basketball and table tennis and made friends with Bataung and Bakuena, two young men from Lesotho, who were also visiting the Calverton School.
Each day was marked by moments of reflection and journaling. We encouraged these great young people to recognize the enormity of what they have done, the intercultural pioneers that they are.
A highlight of the experiment was a trip on Tuesday to Baltimore to watch the Orioles and the Mets. Hot dogs, nosebleed seats, the arcana of late summer baseball, the drive from the pastoral to the urban and back, made for a memorable road trip.
On Wednesday we sauntered, considering the poetry of Walt Whitman and taking a good walk in our wonderful woods. We played some more basketball, enjoying the company of Vincent Lennon and Nick Ramsey, and, led by Chris Bedea, staged a table tennis tournament.
On the 16th we drove into Washington DC to visit the Library of Congress, and Lee Ann Potter was our excellent guide and host. Next we experienced Congress and the Lincoln Memorial (a highlight was a group reading of the Gettysburg Address), before enjoying an amazing Chinese feast.
The group departed early on the 17th for Dulles Airport for their journey home, having experienced some of the magic of Calverton and created strong, enduring relationships, which we hope may lead to one or two of the cohort becoming Cougars.
August 15. Calverton School. Interactive science and art activities. Meet local students. Play basketball.
August 16. A day in Washington DC. Interact with the Washington Wizards. Visit George Washington University. See White House and monuments. Dinner in Chinatown.
Depart at 10:00. Go to George Washington University. Then the White House and monuments. Then the Verizon Center and China town.
Return at 7:00.
August 17. Depart for Dulles Airport.
Leave at 9:00