January 21, 2011
Mayor Richard M. Daley and President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China today toured Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, 1034 N. Wells St., as part of the President’s first-ever visit to Chicago.
The school offers a unique math, science and world language curriculum which reflects the citywide emphasis on transforming the teaching and learning of math and science and Chicago’s commitment to educating its students in the languages and cultures of other countries.
It is also the home of Chicago’s Confucius Institute – the only K-12 focused Confucius Institute in the world and a key educational resource for teachers, parents and students across Chicago on the teaching of Chinese language and culture.
“The future well-being of Chicago depends to a great degree on how successful we are in giving our young people the kind of global education that prepares them to be leaders in our city, our nation and in the world,” Daley said.
“I want Chicago to lead the way in educating young people and I want the nation's and the world's businesses to know we're serious about bringing the best industries and creating good jobs in our city,” he said.
Daley told the Payton students this should be a day all of them remember for the rest of their lives – the day the leader of a nation of almost one-and-a-half billion people came to their school.
“We are grateful today for the opportunity to show President Hu our very top priority in Chicago -- our young people. A school system with strong global awareness will produce graduates who will lead us in bringing the jobs of the future to Chicago, in further diversifying our economy and in creating greater opportunity for all our residents,” the Mayor said.
Upon his arrival at the school, President Hu was presented with flowers by Mary Johnson, a 9th grade student participant in the Confucius Institute.
Students of Chinese language and culture from six other Chicago Public Schools -- Jones College Prep, Kenwood Academy High School, McCormick Elementary School, Northside College Prep, Oriole Park Elementary and Whitney Young Magnet High School – also attended the event.
During the school visit, the Mayor and President Hu visited the Confucius Institute, an Advanced Placement Chinese language class, a math class and were treated to music by the Kenwood Academy High School choir and the Sounds of Sweetness choral ensemble from Walter Payton.
Students from McCormick Elementary demonstrated their study of Chinese culture by performing a traditional Chinese handkerchief dance.
Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.