San Diego–Taichung Sister City Tie Strengthened as Schools Connect

By Sophia Fang, Epoch Times
February 6, 2014 Updated: February 6, 2014

SAN DIEGO, Calif.—San Diego and Taichung, Taiwan, established their first sister-school connection between Pacific Ridge School and National Taichung Wen-Hua Senior High School in January. 

Founded in 2007, Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad has around 500 students, from grades 7 through 12. Wen-Hua Senior High School is located in Taiwan’s third-largest city, Taichung. It has around 2,400 students from 10th to 12th grade. 

Dr. Bob Ogle, the principal of Pacific Ridge School, indicated that traditional Chinese characters are taught in his school. Traditional characters date back more than 2,000 years and are still being used in Taiwan today. The construction of each character carries the values and beliefs of traditional Chinese culture. Mainland China, however, has used a simplified character set, devised by the Chinese Communist Party, since the 1950s. 

“We have a program for 9th graders to visit Beijing and Shanghai. But our older students do not have a similar program. We look forward to the opportunities to see Taiwan,” said Dr. Olge.

Mr. Lee Chien-Wei, Wen-Hua Senior High School’s director of student affairs, along with a group of students and faculty, visited Pacific Ridge School at the end of January. During their one-week stay, the students attended classes with their American peers and stayed with American host families. 

One student said, “In this short week, we’ve fallen in love with Pacific Ridge!” 

The sister school signing ceremony took place in Pacific Ridge School on Jan. 30. Students performed the lion dance, the Kung Fu fan dance, and showed off their Chinese skills by reciting classical Chinese poetry. 

Cicely Meng, president of the San Diego–Taichung Sister Cities Association, is a Wen Hua Senior High School alumnus. Meng said, “After 30 years of sister city ties, we are glad to see the first sister school relationship finally established.” 

The San Diego–Taichung Sister City relationship started in 1983 by then-mayor Roger Hedgecock. According to Hedgecock, San Diego had many sister cities in Europe, but none in Asia back then. Last November, top officials and local community leaders from both cities gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary and rekindle the sister-city tie.

David Edick, president of the San Diego International Sister Cities Association, said that San Diego has 15 sister cities and that “establishing sister school relationships is a great way to foster the communication and cultural exchange between two cities.”

The Wen-Hua High School students also visited the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and met with San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts on Feb. 3.