Delaware’s Sister City Advisory Board discussed potential educational and exchange opportunities at its most recent meeting.
The Global Scholars Program is expected to begin the next school year for Delaware City Schools, said member Dan Bartha, who is the incoming principal at Dempsey Middle School. There would need to be 25 ninth-grade participants.
“It’s a three-year program,” Bartha said on April 12. “Dempsey teachers are building a good foundation of students who excel in the foreign languages at high school. It will help them as they progress through high school, to be part of the global community by studying or volunteering abroad.”
The Global Scholars Program received a generous grant from an anonymous donor to the Delaware Community Foundation, Bartha said. The program was a partnership with the Columbus Council on World Affairs. Granville Schools participates in the program, and as part of its experiences, some juniors and seniors traveled to China.
“The reason this is quite relevant is students in this program will have to do international projects that we can coordinate with our sister cities,” said board chair Rand Guebert. “There’s a lot of flexibility in this program, but it doesn’t replace the curriculum.”
Bartha said more about Delaware’s projects and student involvement would be known at the board’s July meeting.
Guebert said the Global Scholars Program could be applied to Omutninsk, Russia, one of Delaware’s three sister cities.
“We have to do something meaningful but apolitical,” Guebert said of Omutninsk. “I think they would like to do something with us. School would be the means.”
There was also discussion of a trip to Sakata, Japan, in April 2017, during the cherry blossom season. A delegation of possibly five people, including Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, would visit the city for four or five days. It was noted that even after the 16-hour flight to Tokyo, it would be a four-hour train ride to Sakata.
Last November, a five-person delegation from Sakata visited Delaware to see local attractions and events. For the past 25 years, there has been a relationship between Sakata and Dempsey.
Finally, Guebert talked about a possible four- to six-week student exchange next summer through Rotary International to the sister city in Baumholder, Germany.
“Rotary has clubs all over the world,” Guebert said. “I’m going to see if we can make that work with the Rotary people in Germany.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.