3 Young San Jose students wrap up dream trip to China

April 15, 2011 12:13:10 AM PDT
The library at San Jose's Washington Elementary School was packed Thursday evening with the extended family members of three students who are wrapping up a week-long journey to China. A Skype video conference call at 5:30 p.m. put them electronically face to face with Erika Morales, Kyara Sendejas, and Naendy Lopez. Behind them were students of Haochong Elementary School in Zhongshang, China. It was 9:30 a.m. Friday in China.

The three girls were excited to see their mothers, who were seated front and center so they could talk with their daughters. Erika, Kyara and Naendy were chosen from among the members of the school's China Club. Money for the trip was provided by the Rotary Club of San Jose, club sponsors Dennis Fong and Polly Kam, and by a number of businesses, foundations and individuals. Enough money was raised to help pay for a reciprocal visit by a delegation from Haochong School to San Jose, starting April 30.

Erika's mother, Francisca Morales, said her daughter looked very happy. She also thinks she has gained some weight, which Mrs. Morales think must indicate she's eating well. The girls said they've been eating lots of seafood. Today, they're getting their first taste of dim sum. They've been going to historic and cultural sites in southern China as well. The girls spoke to their mothers in Spanish, which underscores the multicultural nature of the trip. The three young Hispanic ambassadors reflect the diversity of the U.S. and especially the Bay Area.

During the call, some members of the Haochong School faculty stood up and introduced themselves. The two Chinese students who will visit San Jose in two weeks also introduced themselves. One of them, named Lin, is an accomplished singer. She will give a performance to the students at Washington Elementary. The other student, a young man, said he likes to play soccer.

The students, along with their chaperone, principal Maria Evans, will take a short ferry ride to Hong Kong early Saturday morning and board a nonstop flight to San Francisco.

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