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EHS establishes Sister School relationship with schools in South Korea

Principal Andy Beaton give South Korean visitors a tour of EHS. Nov. 28, 2018 - Representatives from Edina Public Schools and Andong Schools in South Korea, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Nov. 26, opening opportunities for an exchange program for students.

A delegation from Andong is in Edina for a week, touring EHS, sitting in on classes, visiting other district schools, spending time with administrators and meeting with Brenda Casselius, state commissioner of education. The relationship as “Sister Schools” was formalized at a ceremony at EHS where Edina administrators welcomed the South Korean administrators and each learned a little more about the other.

Hank Imm, a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a citizen of both countries, began the process to establish the relationship about a year ago. As a business leader in South Korea, he said he wants to grow the relationship between countries. Having lived in Minnesota for many years, Imm looked for a school district that would be a good match for Andong Schools. He contacted EHS Principal Andy Beaton last year, “He emailed me back the next day!” Imm told the gathering, remarking on the enthusiasm with which his proposal was received. Andong, located on the Nakdong River in the east central part of the country, is on the UNESCO World Heritage list with centuries-old structures, and museums of Korean folklore and traditions. School officials there were equally enthusiastic.

Joining Imm on the visit, were Kil Ho Kim, principal at the Andong boys’ school; Dong Hwan Lim, principal at Andong girls’ school; and You Kyeong Cha, education commissioner for the Gyeongsangbuk-do province. Superintendent John Schultz welcomed the delegation and said providing opportunities for Edina students to expand their cultural competency and global experiences is key to their future success in school and careers. “Today’s students will move through the world very differently than we did,” he said. “This experience and the connections they make will positively impact their futures.”

The plan for the exchange program is for approximately 20 students from Andong to spend about two weeks in Edina this coming spring, staying with host families and attending EHS. Next fall, the Edina students who hosted the So. Korean students would travel to Andong, staying with their brother/sister families and attend school there. The future may also hold opportunities for teacher and administrator exchanges, Imm noted.

More information about the exchange program will be available sometime in January. “We are planting the seeds today and we will have to water them and add fertilizer along the way,” Imm said. “But it is a beginning.”