Press Release
January 21, 2011

Mayor Daley And President Hu Jintao Of The People's Republic Of China Tour Walter Payton College Prep High School

School Offers Unique Math, Science and World Language Curriculum;Is Also Home to Confucius Institute, First U.S. K-12 Chinese Educational Center
President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China greets students at Walter Payton College Prep HS
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

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CHICAGO – Mayor Richard M. Daley and President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China today toured Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, 1034 N. Wells St., as part of the President’s first-ever visit to Chicago.

The school offers a unique math, science and world language curriculum which reflects the citywide emphasis on transforming the teaching and learning of math and science and Chicago’s commitment to educating its students in the languages and cultures of other countries.
 
It is also the home of Chicago’s Confucius Institute – the only K-12 focused Confucius Institute in the world and a key educational resource for teachers, parents and students across Chicago on the teaching of Chinese language and culture.
 
“The future well-being of Chicago depends to a great degree on how successful we are in giving our young people the kind of global education that prepares them to be leaders in our city, our nation and in the world,” Daley said.
 
“I want Chicago to lead the way in educating young people and I want the nation's and the world's businesses to know we're serious about bringing the best industries and creating good jobs in our city,” he said.
 
Daley told the Payton students this should be a day all of them remember for the rest of their lives – the day the leader of a nation of almost one-and-a-half billion people came to their school. 
“We are grateful today for the opportunity to show President Hu our very top priority in Chicago -- our young people. A school system with strong global awareness will produce graduates who will lead us in bringing the jobs of the future to Chicago, in further diversifying our economy and in creating greater opportunity for all our residents,” the Mayor said.
 
Upon his arrival at the school, President Hu was presented with flowers by Mary Johnson, a 9th grade student participant in the Confucius Institute.
 
Students of Chinese language and culture from six other Chicago Public Schools -- Jones College Prep, Kenwood Academy High School, McCormick Elementary School, Northside College Prep, Oriole Park Elementary and Whitney Young Magnet High School – also attended the event.
 
During the school visit, the Mayor and President Hu visited the Confucius Institute, an Advanced Placement Chinese language class, a math class and were treated to music by the Kenwood Academy High School choir and the Sounds of Sweetness choral ensemble from Walter Payton.
 
Students from McCormick Elementary demonstrated their study of Chinese culture by performing a traditional Chinese handkerchief dance.
 
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Remarks by Mayor Richard M. Daley
Visit to Walter Payton College Prep with President Hu Jintao
Friday, January 21, 2011
 
Acknowledgments:
 
  • His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China
  • Distinguished Members of the Chinese Delegation
  • The Honorable Jon Huntsman, United States Ambassador to China
  • Mary Richardson-Lowry, President, Chicago Board of Education (emcee)
  • Terry Mazany, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools
  • Mike Hermes, Acting Principal, Walter Payton College Prep
  • Ginger Lumpkin, Assistant Principal, Walter Payton College Prep
  • Eileen Hubbell, Director of International Relations, City of Chicago
  • Jordan Sawyer, student, Walter Payton College Prep (to intro RMD)
  • Grace Jaroscak, student, Walter Payton College Prep  (to intro RMD)

Students from the Chinese language programs at:

  • Walter Payton College Prep
  • Jones College Prep
  • Kenwood Academy
  • McCormick Elementary
  • Northside College Prep
  • Oriole Park
  • Whitney Young
 
 
We are honored today to have with us a very special visitor, and it is my great pleasure to welcome to Walter Payton College Prep the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Hu Jintao.
 
President Hu is very interested in education and very interested in what schools are like in the United States.
 
So this is a wonderful opportunity to show him Chicago’s young people, in school and learning.
 
You all know that I believe the single most important issue we deal with in City government is education.
 
I have said many times that the future well-being of Chicago depends to a great degree on how successful we are in giving our young people the kind of global education that prepares them to be leaders in our city, our nation and in the world.
That's why, over fifteen years ago, I took over responsibility for Chicago's public schools.
 
I wanted Chicago to lead the way in educating young people and I wanted the nation's and the world's businesses to know that we're serious about bringing the best industries to and creating good jobs in our city.
 
And through the hard work of students, parents, teachers, administrators and many other partners, our young people are making steady progress year-to-year.
 
Here at Walter Payton -- as you have seen – globalization, innovation and technology all are important parts of the approach to teaching and learning.
 
Walter Payton College Prep offers a unique math, science and world language curriculum which reflects both our citywide emphasis on transforming the teaching and learning of math and science and our commitment to educating our students in the languages and cultures of other countries.
 
Just a few months ago, for example, Walter Payton earned the prestigious Intel Star Innovator Award, a national award presented to the school that best exemplifies innovative math and science programs. 
 
And in 2006, we opened Chicago’s Confucius Institute at here at Payton – the only K-12 focused Confucius Institute in the world. 
It’s important that our city has a Confucius Institute to serve as an educational resource for teachers, parents and students across Chicago on the teaching of Chinese language and culture.
In 1999, we started our Chinese Language Program with just three schools.
 
Today, the program is the largest of its kind in the United States – and we plan to keep expanding.
 
Students can begin the program in kindergarten and continue to study the language through high school and they have opportunities to participate in summer programs, both at local Chicago universities and universities in China.
 
For Chicago students, learning Chinese is about more than learning a language – it is a life changing experience.
 
These educational exchanges help further the dialogue between cultures in addition to helping students with the fluency of the language.
 
The bottom line is that a strong school system makes Chicago a more attractive location for existing businesses, as well as new ones.
And a school system with strong global awareness will produce graduates who will lead us in bringing the jobs of the future to Chicago, in further diversifying our economy and in creating greater opportunity for all our residents.
 
So we are grateful today for the opportunity to show President Hu our very top priority in Chicago -- our young people.
 
This should be a day all of you remember for the rest of your lives – the day the leader of a nation of almost one-and-a-half billion people came to your school.
He is a man who is working very hard in his own country to make education the priority, because he knows that without it, it’s impossible to build a prosperous society.
He has spoken of how important it is to develop students' sense of responsibility, their innovative spirit and their capacity to solve practical problems.
Those are things we are doing at Walter Payton College Prep and in all our public schools in Chicago.
So please listen to and learn from the President of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Jintao.
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