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Boys II Men Mentoring Program Visits China

Boys II Men Mentoring Program Visits China From April 16-23, Longfellow

Boys II Men Mentoring Program Visits China

Tuesday, 26 July 2011 14:43 Stephanie Reed
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From April 16-23, Longfellow Elementary School’s Boys II Men Mentoring Program visited Beijing, China after being inspired by the 2010 film The Karate Kid. The program will become a yearly event, and may extend to schools beyond the Mount Vernon City School District.

The assistant principal of Longfellow and coordinator of the mentoring program, Brian Pritchett, decided to bring members of Boys II Men – comprised of students from grades 4, 5, and 6 – to China after watching the remake of the 1984 martial arts film of the same name on a trip in Washington, D.C. The students were inspired by the film and wanted their next trip to be in China.

Pritchett, a former assistant coach of the Mount Vernon High School Basketball Team, had the opportunity to travel to China with the team in 2007. He remembered observing a sense of comradery that had a lasting impact.“I wanted to put the same effect on kids at a younger age so they could have a vision of what’s out there besides Mount Vernon,” Pritchett said. “I think that all kids need to see China. China is an amazing experience.” In preparation for the trip, students studied Chinese culture for nine weeks. They learned about the language, cuisine, and about the origins of karate in a demonstrative karate exhibition. 

The children were able to observe different aspects of Chinese culture – they visited many tourist sites: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven among other attractions. The students also became aware of the harsher realities of life China.

11-year-old Jahee Davenport saw a little boy who didn’t have shoes. It was a life-changing realization for him. “I’ve seen rich parts of China, and I’ve seen poor parts of China,” Davenport said. “It makes me feel appreciative of the stuff that I do have.” 6th grader Najee Bass also found the trip to be a great experience for students in the program.

Pritchett was pleasantly surprised with how well the students handled traveling to a different country. Some of the younger students were even able to take charge and display their leadership skills. “The kids were global leaders, ambassadors, and now gatekeepers for kids to go to China,” he said. The trip was such a success that Pritchett plans to make it a yearly goal. The International School of Beijing invited students from the Mount Vernon City School District to stay on campus and take classes for two days. Students from China may also have the opportunity to visit Mount Vernon next year.

“Mount Vernon is on the map,” Pritchett says.

 

Students that made the trip to China:

Austin Davis - 12th Grade Student- Nellie A. Thornton High School

Najee Bass - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Derrick Wright - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Xavier Thomas - 6th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Joshua White - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Kevin Scales - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Jahee Davenport - 5th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Stephon Greaux - 4th Grade Student- Longfellow Elementary School

Comments  

 
+2 # Hazel B. Palmore 2011-07-31 13:18
:-) Stories like this make me smile! It is so refreshing to see people like Brian Pritchett taking HIS time to broaden the scope of experience for our younger community members. Bravo to him and insightful mentors everywhere! Hazel Brandon Palmore
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