President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Schools CEO Terry Mazany last week toured Walter Payton College Preparatory High School as part of President Hu’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.
Payton is also the home of Chicago’s Confucius Institute – the only K-12 focused Confucius Institute in the world. Chicago’s Confucius Institute is a key educational resource for teachers, parents and students across Chicago on the teaching of Chinese language and culture.
Dring the school visit, the Mayor, President Hu and Mr. Mazany 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.
“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.
"It's a testament to Mayor Daley's vision of Chicago as a global city," Mr. Mazany said. "It's all coming together. The president of the largest country in the world visits this one school with the largest Chinese language program."
Across the entire district, over 12,000 CPS students are taking Mandarin at 25 elementary schools and 17 high schools citywide.
“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 J., 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.
The students from McCormick Elementary demonstrated their study of Chinese culture by performing a traditional Chinese handkerchief dance.
Learn more about Walter Payton College Prep
Learn more about the Confucius Institute
Learn more about McCormick Elementary