Shanghai school raises some $160,000 for education

Concordia International School Shanghai wrapped up its yearlong 10th anniversary celebration April 24-26 with a high-school performance of “The Sounciss.gifd of Music,” a gala dinner, an auction, a potluck brunch, and a “Celebration” worship service.

The school-sponsored auction raised nearly $160,000 for the Yunnan Education Project (YEP), the school’s flagship charity.  Founded in 2002 by three Concordia Shanghai students who had traveled to China’s rural Yunnan Province for a service trip, YEP works with the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation — a charity founded by Lutherans in Hong Kong — to support education and human care projects in mainland China.  Those projects include providing school buildings and libraries, educational materials, English language instruction, clean-water systems, health education, and high-school scholarships.

Scholarships have been the main focus of the YEP program since its start.  In rural China, many students are financially unable to attend middle school and high school.

In 2007-08, YEP sponsored 251 scholarships for students in two Yunnan communities.  Sixty additional students will receive a high-school education as a result of the funds raised at Concordia Shanghai’s 10th anniversary celebration.

According to Josiane Horak, one of three founding members of YEP, the program has had a positive impact on both the scholarship recipients and Concordia Shanghai students.

“It has allowed children and teenagers to become passionate about helping others that aren’t as fortunate, and the scholarship students from Yunnan occasionally send letters and cards, which continuously reminds students at Concordia that they can make a difference.

“The scholarship students feel relieved of what is often a crippling financial burden,” Horak added.  “They are free to focus on their studies and improve their livelihoods and those of their family.”

Also during the anniversary celebration, Louise and Michael Weber, Concordia Shanghai elementary school principal and director of technology (from 1998 to 2008), respectively, received the 2009 International Lutheran Educators Award from Dr. Jonathan Laabs, executive director of the Lutheran Education Association (LEA).  Laabs traveled to Shanghai to present the award, which was given to dual recipients for the first time in LEA’s history.

Concordia International School Shanghai, one of three international schools affiliated with The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, has grown from a student body of 22 in 1998 to more than 1,000 students today in grades preschool through high school.

Posted June 3, 2009

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