The Richmond Register

Local News

April 21, 2014

Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

RICHMOND — A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

Principal Billy Parker said he was approached last year by Dr. William Phillips from Eastern Kentucky University about hosting a group of foreign students for a week.

“I felt it was a good opportunity for (Kit Carson) students to see cultural diversity,” Parker said.

The 10 students, one teacher and principal from the Penecostal Yu Leung Fat Primary School arrived April 12 in Richmond. Parker said about 50 children from the Hong Kong school applied to be part of the trip, and its staff engaged in a “rigorous process” to determine who would get to come.

This was the first time the children have been to the United States, Parker said.

The Hong Kong students and their adult chaperones were placed with local hosts, including families of Kit Carson students and staff.

“We are tremendously thankful to the host families,” Parker said.

During their  visit, the guests and host families visited Keeneland racetrack, a Lexington park and Cumberland Falls, ate at the first KFC in Corbin and attended local churches.

From Monday through Friday, they attended classes with Kit Carson students.

“We plugged them into the class schedule like any other fifth-graders,” Parker said.

The visiting children also got to visit the state Capitol in Frankfort as part of a school field trip during the week.

On Thursday, the Hong Kong children did educational presentations for all fourth- and fifth-grade Kit Carson students. They discussed their language, traditions and holidays and played educational games with their American counterparts.

The visitors also did the same presentations Thursday night at the schoolwide spring open house, Parker said.

The Kit Carson students reacted well to the guests from Hong Kong, Parker said. The Richmond students were more surprised by the similarities they shared with the visiting students than their differences, the principal said.

“It was a very positive experience” for Kit Carson students to see the Hong Kong children have the same wants, needs and desires they have, Parker said.

Parker added he also was pleased to see several Kit Carson students step up into leadership roles to welcome and help the visiting children feel at home during their stay.

The group from Hong Kong returned home Saturday, but Parker said he hopes the school will be able to participate in more exchange programs in the future.

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