PRESS RELEASE: Students from Ningbo, China Visiting Coginchaug


Students from Ningbo, China attend class.

On Sept. 30, 22 students from Ningbo, China are arriving at Coginchaug and will be staying for two weeks. The students’ arrival will mark the beginning of a global partnership that the school’s administration hopes to implement into the RSD 13 community. 

The age of students arriving ranges from 14 to 17. They are coming from Tongi High School, which has a more than double the amount of students than Coginchaug with a population of 1,300.

The goal of this exchange program is to give students at Coginchaug an opportunity to experience a culture diametrically different from what they are used to. 

“We wanted to start a global partnership in order to help our students have experiences outside of Durham and outside of the local community,” said CRHS Spanish teacher Mrs. Kate Germond, one of the organizers of this trip. “We wanted something that could impact the entire community and school population.”

Mrs. Germond, along with Superintendent Dr. Kathryn Veronesi, Mr. Bob Moore (Chairman of BOE) and Principal Brian Falcone, traveled to Ningo, China in December 2018 to officially establish the partnership. Germond described her experience in China as “life changing.”

The exchange students will be fully immersed in Coginchaug activities and culture the two weeks they are here. They will be attending classes, sports events, and the annual Homecoming dance. 

Junior Maggie Jaskot, who is hosting a student, said she is “excited to take them to places like the mall and show them what life as a teenager is like in America.”

For the two weeks the exchange students are here, it is expected that the students will be reserved as they are adapting to a completely different world. 

“[The exchange students] are going to be shy at first,” warns Mrs. Germond. “We just need to be welcoming and outgoing.”

“The hope is that our students open their minds and want to find out more about our guests,” explains Mr. Falcone. “I hope Coginchaug students are curious about their culture and are curious to start conversations with regard to the differences in our lives.”

The students visiting are only the start of what is hoped to be a strong program of global interaction at Coginchaug. 

“The first step is to have the students come here, have their experience here in the US, and then we are going to send our students to China. We are going to see how the students get used to the environment and culture,” said Mr. Falcone. “From there, we are going to see how it goes and debrief on what the next steps are for us.” 

The goal is to expand this program in order to, according to Mr. Falcone, “expose as many students as possible to this experience.”

Throughout the two weeks, there will be many opportunities for both Coginchaug students and the RSD 13 community to get involved, such as a STEM activity in which the exchange students and Coginchaug students will work together and a Community Potluck Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 6-7:30 p.m. 

Mrs. Germond urges, “Come to the Community Potluck!”


September 30      Students from Tongji High School arrive (approximate arrival 6:00)
October 1            Community Potluck (6:00)
October 2            Students from Tongji will be traveling to Boston
October 3            Cooperative STEM Activity (during the school day)
Cooking Enrichment Activity (after school)
Boys Soccer Game (3:45)
October 4            Pep Rally (during the school day)
Volleyball Match (5:30)
October 5             Homecoming Dance (7:00)
October 6          Barbecue (1:00 Bob Moore’s house)
October 7            Model UN Activity (during the school day)
Yoga (after school)
October 8            Tour of Yale University (during the school day)
Teacher Bounce Off Fundraiser (2:30 in the gym)
October 9           Cooperative STEM Activity (during the school day)
Art and Cooking Enrichment Activities (after school)
October 10        Lyman Orchards trip (after school)
Goodbye Celebration (5:30 in the library)
Shoreline Music Festival (7:00)