Two students from MMI Preparatory School were among only seven students from across the United States who were selected to take part in a cultural leadership program in China this summer.
Senior Terrance Jankouskas and 2015 graduate Rachel Stanziola, who were taught Chinese at MMI by World Language instructor Christina Spencer, visited China from July 27 to August 7 and participated in the ninth annual Ameson Chinese Elite Program (ACE), sponsored by the Ameson Education & Cultural Exchange Foundation. ACE is an annual event that brings together the brightest young minds from top secondary schools from the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia for a week of cultural exchange, leadership development and lectures from high-level professionals in government and education.
More than 150 students took part in this year’s program, which was held on the campus of the Experimental High School attached to Beijing Normal University. ACE’s goal is to help today’s youth develop into tomorrow’s leaders, with an environment designed to foster leadership and cross-cultural understanding. The program provides participants with innovative forms of social and political education.
Students heard lectures from and interacted with world leaders, scholars and experts through lectures and innovative workshops and participated in a model summit of the five permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council where students discussed critical issues facing the world today.
In selecting students for the program, the Ameson Foundation places a particular focus on students’ talents and potential, rather than on their economic family background. Ameson covers students’ tuition fees, food and accommodation, with further reimbursement for traveling expenses to those with financial difficulties.
Jankouskas and Stanziola stayed in Beijing and visited the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and various other historic and cultural attractions. They also attended the program’s new camp that focused on learning about China’s Capitals-Yesterday and Today where they experienced traditional Chinese culture and were exposed to China’s ancient and modern political and economic life in Beijing and Xi’an. Xi’an’s history date more than 5,000 years and can be traced back to the source of Chinese civilization. During this experience, Jankouskas and Stanziola visited the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor of China, the Hukou Waterfall and Yan’an, the cradle of China’s revolution.
“Overall, it was an excellent experience. My trip was fun and exciting and I hope to visit China again,” Jankouskas said.
MMI Head of School Thomas G. Hood said the ACE program emphasizes the importance of Chinese classes at MMI.
“Realizing the importance of Chinese to the business world and our global economy, we implemented a Chinese curriculum several years ago at MMI. Terrance and Rachel demonstrate that Chinese is much more than just a class to them. Because of their success in studying Chinese, they will be able to pursue additional opportunities in higher education and careers,” he said.