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Educational exchange coming

Delegation from Chinese city interested in Powell River opportunities

Chinese educational officials have been sent an invitation to discuss an international education exchange relationship with Powell River.

City of Powell River Mayor Dave Formosa outlined correspondence he had received regarding the matter during the city’s September 1 committee of the whole meeting.

Reading from correspondence sent by Quan Ouyang, president of Sino Bright Schools Board, Formosa introduced Quan’s request to receive a delegation from the City of HenYang in Hunan Province, Quan’s hometown. He asks to contemplate a memorandum of understanding for an educational relationship between the two cities.

Formosa said that because this would involve a city government delegation travelling from China, an invitation with the mayor’s signature and the city’s seal was requested.

Formosa indicated Quan had stated this is a great opportunity to open a relationship between the two cities. Formosa met both senior delegates planning on travelling here during a trip to China earlier this year.

Sino Bright School in Hengyang is in one of the schools in that city. The hope is that the Chinese officials can travel to Powell River in October.

Formosa said Sino Bright has 10 campuses in China, plus one in Vancouver’s Gastown and one in Powell River. Sino Bright is planning an expansion to 13 schools and Formosa visited the new locations during his trip to China.

He said the Chinese city that is asking for a sister relationship for international education with Powell River is “a small town like ours” with a population of 889,000. He said the HenYang schools are interested in the 400-student school that Sino Bright is looking to build on Lot 450 adjacent to Brooks Secondary School.

“This is more ammunition to get students to Powell River,” said Formosa.

He added that there is another initiative from the provincial government under development that will help the school here in Powell River, but it is premature to make an announcement. He said more information would be coming from School District 47 when the time is appropriate.

“It will be another reason to get going and get the school built,” said Formosa. “Things are moving along quickly.”

Formosa said he has also made a contact in Korea who informed him that six young students have been sent to Powell River to be educated here.

Atypical of many of the international students attending Powell River schools, these are elementary-school students and they are coming with their parents.

“It’s all working, all of these things we are doing,” said Formosa. “Until we have a very vibrant community, I don’t think we should stop.”

Councillor Jim Palm, chairing the committee of the whole meeting, said the mayor’s trip to China is paying off.