This weekend, First Lady Michelle Obama, Madame Peng, wife of President Xi of China, and students from the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, attended the naming ceremony of the new baby panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. (his name is Bei Bei!) At this ceremony, the Yu Ying School was recognized by Michelle Obama for being part of the steps forward toward reaching the goal that President Obama and President Xi established: an initiative to teach one million students in the U.S. to speak Mandarin Chinese by the year 2020, the One Million Strong initiative.
Modeled after a girls’ school founded in 1911 in Beijing, China, the Yu Ying Charter School provides Chinese language immersion with the structured inquiry approach of the International Baccalaureate. The school provides children in grades PreK-5 with the opportunity to a quality public education and Chinese language and culture immersion.
Michelle Obama recognized that students at the Yu Ying School are among the first to be in an immersive school that promotes the idea of global citizenship, and the ability to connect with people around the world due to their early exposure to a different language and culture. She emphasized that this generation does not need to leave the country to be exposed to the rest of the world. That all is attainable with Internet access, and that Yu Ying students have the ability to extend their community across the world as they have the skills to do so. The First Lady encourages students worldwide to follow the Yu Ying students in their journey to expand their communities past language and cultural barriers.
Karina Lichtman, CER Intern