Phillips Academy Andover to deepen China ties

Updated: 2015-02-20 12:12

By Amy He in New York(China Daily USA)

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Phillips Academy Andover to deepen China ties

John Palfrey

Seventy students from Phillips Academy Andover, one of the US' most prestigious prep schools, will travel to China next month to collaborate with their Chinese counterparts in the Shanghai Arts Festival, as the school continues to foster its long-standing relationship with China.

The students and 10 faculty members will head to China on Mar 7 to work with Chinese student musicians for the performance arts festival, the Massachusetts-based boarding school said.

"Music is a common language around the globe, it's a topic kids can connect on regardless of their culture, so it's a common ground," said John Palfrey, Phillips Academy's fifteenth head of school. "It's important that every student have experiences in their global economy when they're in high school, so I think the idea of connecting kids with people who are from different backgrounds is an essential part of what we think needs to happen in high school."

The school began its educational relationship with China more than 130 years ago when 11 Chinese boys were enrolled in the school in 1878 and 1879 to study. One of those boys, Sir Chentung Liang Cheng, Class of 1882, later served as Chinese Minister to Berlin and Washington. Andover began offering a Chinese language program in the 1960s and established an exchange program in the 1970s.

"Philips Academy has a long connection to China, dating back to the 19th century. We have many positive connections, but it is a strategic area of focus for our school," Palfrey told China Daily. "And the way in which that's expressed this year is that we are going with more than 70 students and a group of faculty, alumni and administrators to China."

Andover has seen a rise in its international Chinese student population, according to Palfrey. The school has 1,100 students, with about 10 percent international. Of that percentage, the school has several dozen students from China, and has seen about 12 new students from the country matriculating every year, which Palfrey called a "substantial number".

The school, which has an annual tuition of about $49,000 for boarding students and $38,000 for day students, is a need-blind institution, meaning students from any economic background are eligible for financial aid, and international students are eligible for grants that domestic students are, Palfrey said.

Phillips Academy's alumni include both Bush former presidents and Chinese-American investment banker and philanthropist Oscar Tang.  

Tang, who graduated in 1956, donated $15 million to Andover last year for the creation of the Tang Institute to support entrepreneurial exploration, the school said. Tang had previously donated $25 million to the school, the largest single donation in the school's history.

"I was sent here without my family when I was 11, and without any English," Tang told China Daily. "It took me a few years to learn English and then to finally get into Andover, but for me, Andover provided the platform for realizing my potential.

"It was at Andover that I learned that after really struggling to catch up for four, five years in this country, that I could do it and that provided me with confidence."