Huntington High School was a little bit livelier than usual during a visit by a group of ten students from Hong Kong.
Huntington students and their families hosted the international contingent from Chung Sing Benevolent Society Mrs. Aw Boon Haw Secondary School during a USA-Hong Kong student exchange program visit, which was coordinated by district Chairman of Humanities, 7-12 Joseph Leavy.
The group from China spent a few days touring Manhattan before coming to Huntington and meeting their host families. The Hong Kong students spent time at both J. Taylor Finley Middle and Huntington High School, participating in various activities and classes and mingling with students, who they taught how to write Chinese characters and calligraphy.
“At the high school, the visiting students enjoyed attending such classes as English, art, music, robotics, fashion and Virtual Enterprise,” Mr. Leavy said. “After school activities such as ping pong with student government members and a get-together with United Amigos were enjoyed by the Huntington and Hong Kong students.”
The visiting Hong Kong student ambassadors were named Harry, Sukha, Peter, Cherry, Commy, Carmen, Rebecca, Bella, Kris and Sabrina. They were hosted by Huntington’s Chin, Lulewich, Agrillo, McGloin, Cartwright, Sage, Maichin and Hartough families.
“Mr. Leavy came into my Advanced Placement English Language and Composition classroom one day and asked if I would be interested in doing something like this and once he told me, I was so excited and texted my parents right away and began setting up all of the details,” junior Abby Maichin said.
The Huntington High School students had a blast hosting the visitors. “It was such an amazing experience and one that I will keep close to my heart for forever,” Ms. Maichin said. “I got to make a lifetime friend over the course of five days, who I still keep in touch with. Kris was able to get to know my friends and team and also was able become a part of the Huntington community for the short time she was here. It was such a memorable experience and one that I will remember for forever.”
One of the week’s highlights was a pot luck dinner gathering of host families and the Hong Kong group that celebrated the Chinese New Year.
“The dinner was complete with various traditional Chinese specialties, including dumplings, noodles, fish and chicken as well as American favorites,” Mr. Leavy said. “The celebration also included the traditional lion dance to signify good luck for the New Year.”
Finley Principal John Amato and Huntington High School Principal Brenden Cusack along with faculty members in both buildings enjoyed interacting with the student ambassadors from Hong Kong.
The Chinese students spent time in a variety of classrooms, representing a cross-section of academic areas. They even enjoyed a vigorous workout class with high school physical education teacher Maria Canino.
The Huntington hosts took delight in the experience. “The kids enjoyed showing off their school as well as their town,” Mr. Leavy said. “They explored Huntington village, local beaches and parks. They also enjoyed pizza and ice cream and visiting favorite local favorite spots. They took lots of selfies to document and share memories.”