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Celebrating 20 years of sisterhood with Huaxia

Ursuline Academy students line up with the visiting Huaxia students for a morning parade through the school on Oct. 6. (BEN TORRES/Special Contributor)

Ursuline Academy students line up with the visiting Huaxia students for a morning parade through the school on Oct. 6. (BEN TORRES/Special Contributor)

Special to The Texas Catholic

Ursuline Academy of Dallas has established educational and cultural exchange partnerships with 10 sister schools in nine countries on six continents, and it recently celebrated how it all began.

Ursuline recognized 20 years of sisterhood with Beijing Huaxia Girls’ School in China on Oct. 6. The unique partnership was formalized in a written agreement, the first of its kind between a U.S. private secondary school and a school in China.

“It was a very important day in the history of our school,” said Cecilia Nipp, Ursuline’s director of Global Relationships and Cultural Exchange.

Beijing Huaxia Girls’ School in China, the first all-girls school to be established in China since the Cultural Revolution, became Ursuline’s first sister school in 1997.

Many people involved in forming the partnership returned to campus for the anniversary event. A delegation of 12 Huaxia students and three administrators were also in Dallas, including a Chinese teacher, who graduated from Huaxia Girls’ School, which was founded in 1996.

Other guests included former Ursuline principal Shaun Underhill and former Ursuline Mandarin Chinese teacher Hua Yang, who acted as an interpreter during the anniversary ceremony in Jane Neuhoff Athletic Center. The special day also included a morning parade and outdoor activities.

“I loved my Ursuline trip to China,” said 2007 Ursuline alumna Jules McGee, who hosted a Chinese student in 2006 and went to China in 2007. “It opened my eyes to their beautiful culture.”
Ursuline knows the partnership couldn’t have happened without the vision of Huaxia founder Dr. Yiru Li.

“Here’s a woman in her retirement years who wanted something better for girls’ education,” Ursuline Director of Research and Educational Innovation Susan Bauer said. “You know that wasn’t easy in China.”

Now more people appreciate the partnership, which continues to thrive.

“We’ve had the opportunity to know them as people, not just as a country,” Bauer said.

— Submitted by Ursuline Academy of Dallas