DeKalb Central School District Residents Take Trip to China

posted Aug 5, 2013, 7:01 AM by webmaster district   [ updated Aug 5, 2013, 7:02 AM ]

A group from DeKalb Central schools met with students and faculty at DeKalb Middle Schools’s sister school in Taizhou during a nine-day trip to China this summer. Other highlights of the trip included visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xian. The group saw The Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.  - Photo contributed -


WATERLOO — As a social studies teacher, Brett Eltzroth hopes students in his classes at DeKalb Middle School have a respect for other cultures and individual differences.

“I hope that they have an understanding of different cultures in the world,” said Eltzroth. For some of his students, that understanding has come not only from books but also from immersion.

In June, Eltzroth led a group of about two dozen DeKalb Central school district residents on a nine-day visit to China. The group included Eltzroth’s wife, Neah Eltzroth, who is a second-grade teacher at Rome City Elementary School; DeKalb Middle School associate principal Michelle Molargik; middle school teachers Nora Schwartz and Jarrod Bennett; McKenney-Harrison Elementary School teacher Carrie Bennett; DeKalb High School treasurer Nancy Gurtner; students Rachel Pfafman, Caroline Harlow, Tori Pfafman, Gabe Seltenright, John Gurtner, Emily Jones, Cade Molargik, Devon Winebrenner, Lauren Woodcox and Riley Winebrenner; and parents and patrons Jim Harlow, Russell Emerick, Mary Pfafman, Mary Seltenright, Brad Woodcox, ClaraMary Winebrenner and Tim Schwartz.

The trip marked Eltzroth’s second visit to China. He first made the journey two years ago with a group from Global Indiana with the goal of establishing a relationship with a Chinese sister school. That relationship since has been cemented, and the group visited the sister school in Taizhou.

“They had a big welcome for us,” Eltzroth said. This past school year, DeKalb Middle School hosted teacher Cindy Wang and administrator Chen Ronghua from the school in Taizhou.

During a reception at Taizhou, DeKalb students had the chance to meet their Chinese pen pals and participate in a gift exchange. They toured the school and saw classes in session. Chinese students also entertained their U.S. visitors with a talent show.

Other highlights of the trip included visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xian. The group saw The Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.

“I think they really enjoyed it,” Eltzroth said of the DeKalb students. “I think some of them were a little bit timid at first, but really had a good time with it. I hope that they see it as a trip of a lifetime and appreciate other cultures. I hope everyone enjoyed being immersed in a different culture and also came to appreciate our American culture even more.”

Eltzroth said the goal is to continue to develop teacher and student exchanges between the schools. In 2014, a group of Chinese students and teachers will visit DeKalb County. Eltzroth also hopes to lead another group to China in 2015. Anyone interested may contact Eltzroth by email at beltzroth@dekalbcentral.net.

Article from The Star on Sunday, August 4 - written by BY KATHRYN BASSETT kbassett@kpcmedia.com