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Harlem / RPS Chinese Sister Schools

Harlem / RPS Chinese Sister Schools

Harlem Middle School


Maggie Kasicki has a passion for teaching culture. Ryan Brown runs the International Club at Harlem Middle School. A few years ago, her dream of bringing cultures together started to take shape, and this year, Harlem Middle School was able to join Auburn, Marshall, and Montessori as a host school for students from Shenyang, a city in northeast China.


Student Sit at table For the past two weeks, HMS has welcomed seven students from China. Students were assigned a host family to live with during their stay. Host families provided students with meals and lodging as well as serving as tour guides. Students spent one day in Chicago visiting Chinatown for lunch and spending the afternoon at the Museum of Science and Industry. For the remainder of their two week visit, students attended school and shadowed an HMS student as they went to classes, lunch, and after-school activities. They were even issued a locker!


Host families were fortunate to spend evenings teaching and learning so much. Host families took students skating, shopping, and bowling. Some went to Midway Village, the Discovery Center, a Rockford IceHogs game, or just played in the snow. Host families and students learned so much from each other, from simple things like using a fork or chopsticks or using a drinking fountain for the first time to exploring their cultures in more meaningful ways.


Since the school these students attend in Shenyang is a boarding school, there are also no snow days! When it was too cold to go outside, families played games, cooked and Students stand outside baked, watched movies, and just hung out.


On Friday, February 1, students said goodbye to their host families. Thurgood Marshall Middle School hosted the closing ceremony which featured performances by several musical groups from RPS and Harlem, including the HMS Show Choir. Through lots of tears and hugs galore, new old friends said their goodbyes.


This summer, Harlem High School senior Noah Kuligowski will be traveling with this group to visit Shenyang. If your middle school student is interested in hearing more, Harlem Middle School’s international club meets Wednesdays after school in Mrs. Theisen’s room.