VASJ forges relationships in China

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School President Richard Osborne ’69 recently returned from Zhöngshän, China, where he was part of a political and business delegation working to develop economic and educational ties between the City of Cleveland and the City of Zhöngshän.

“My role was to represent VASJ and the Diocese of Cleveland in exploring potential educational opportunities for Chinese students here,” Osborne said. “For VASJ, the effort is particularly meaningful as an extension of our commitment to give our students multicultural learning experiences.”

Osborne '69 poses with students at the Zhöngshän campus of the China-Hong Kong English School.

A pilot program for Chinese students was inaugurated at St. Peter Chanel High School this year, he explained. The program will transfer to VASJ next year after Chanel closes in June.

Osborne anticipates that three or more students from the Zhöngshän region will enroll at VASJ in the fall. It is expected that the numbers will grow at VASJ and other high schools in the diocese in the future.

The program was developed by Chanel President and Principal Sister Maria Berlec, OSU, along with Jason Lin, President of Lin’s Omni Development in Cleveland. Sister Maria, a former principal of VASJ and a 1967 graduate of Villa Angela Academy, will join the VASJ faculty next year.

Zhöngshän is located in Quandong province, which has the largest population and share of GDP ofall 34 Chinese provinces. The city is located about two hours from Hong Kong.

The Cleveland delegation, representing the Cleveland Chinese Friendship Council, was led by Jiashan Huang, President of Cleveland Chinatown Development, and Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins.

The delegation visited Zhöngshän from April 13-19 and forged relationships with numerous companies, schools and government officials. “We gained important information and insights in our exchanges that will be beneficial as we carry out the program at VASJ,” Osborne said.