By Philip Schueler
As many students probably noticed at the Academic Awards, Headmaster Dr. Christian J. Proctor appeared slightly drained while handing out First and Second Honor Roll Certificates. This is understandable, as Proctor had just stepped off a plane from Shanghai, China, which is 13 hours ahead of Roanoke.
Proctor travelled to China to further extend the burgeoning relationship between North Cross and friendly communities in China. Proctor said he met with many Chinese teachers and educators who are extremely interested in developing partnerships with North Cross.
"I visited seven different schools in eight days and met with the people who ran those schools," Proctor said. "We were talking about partnerships between schools over there, and they're very interested in having our students come visit in the summertime."
While Proctor visited many different schools in China, he said that his goal was to find schools that would be comfortable for American students who wished to stay or study in the country.
"We're trying to develop a partnership with the right school over there, and the right school would be one in the right location; one that would be comfortable for Americans to be a part of," Proctor said. "One of the schools we are looking at is in a city called Ningbo, which is about two hours outside of Shanghai. Another was in a city called Wuxi. I thought these were the two best locations."
Proctor said that he hoped that a group of North Cross students would be able to have the opportunity to travel to a school in China as soon as this summer, but it may take longer for such an opportunity to arise.
Upper School Director Mark Thompson, who travelled to China in 2012, highlighted the importance and possibilities of the connections and partnerships that are developing between North Cross and schools in China.
"One of the possibilities is that if we open up a program or a school or have a partnership with a particular school in China is that it would be possible for students to go to China for a trimester, or a year or even just the summer, and if we have a connection with a school there, we can develop an established relationship," Thompson said. "In short, we are exploring our options."
Although North Cross's relationships between schools in China are still in their nascent and exploratory stages, both Thompson and Proctor recognize the value and potential of these partnerships once they begin to be developed even further.
"I think it could provide some great opportunities for some of our students and some of our teachers to go to China whether over the summer, or part of a year or even a whole year," Thompson said. "China is reemerging as a global power and as such its important to have good relations and a good understanding of each other."
Proctor also had similar feelings.
"I think the biggest thing the trip did was me going over there, meeting all the folks and thanking them for all that they've done for us," Proctor said, "and having a greater awareness for how different it is for a Chinese student to come to Roanoke after having left the big city.”