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Journey East web site




Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

We wish to thank Holden Waterman, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, and Dr. Juefei Wang, (former Director of the ASOP).

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang and Tom Connor, without whose efforts and support this program would not be possible!

Leland & Gray
Journey East 2010

Tom Connor
Program Director

Jenny Connor
Ron Kelley


Mary Martin
Diane Newton
Bahman Mahdavi


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Where Are They Now?




You’re Almost There!

That’s what a lot of runners will be hearing today as they run through ”Heartbreak Hill” in the Boston Marathon today. Nearly 27,000 entrants in this year’s event. We have something in common with the 114th running of today’s Boston Marathon as we too are also “almost there” on this journey with nearly 30,000 site page views to date.

T-minus 2

The group has reached their final destination in China - Beijing. They return to the city in which they began this journey nearly four weeks ago! After two intense weeks of collaborative work with students in Qufu and Hohhot, the group returns to the role of tourist as they visit Beijing sights and take the time for some final shopping before heading home Wednesday morning.

Read all about it!
(If you can read Chinese, that is!)!

The group made the news yesterday as it planted trees in honor of Earth Day. Here you will see pictures of the JE group as well as a newspaper article about their efforts.

Web site of the Arts College
Web site of Inner Mongolia Morning

Cool stuff. I think the group’s celebrity status just rose another notch. Here is a group photo from the Arts College web site:

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Being from the Green Mountain state, these guys must have felt right at home planting trees! Let’s check out more photos of that special event:

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Okay, so speaking of celebrity status, this is a good time to talk about these celebrities and their transition back home. We talked earlier about these students being ambassadors for Vermont and for the U.S. Everything they said and did was a big deal, everyone they met was anxious to see them, talk to them, be with them. Banquets, guests of honor, celebrations, gifts, newspaper interviews, etc. They were the story. Everything, every day, was all about them. They have been treated like “stars” and “celebrities” for a month, a seemingly lifetime.

Now, they will return to Vermont in a couple of days where they are what they were a month ago, just a regular people. No big deal. This will be a challenging adjustment for them, and for you. They will expect, and deserve, to a certain extent, for people here to pay attention to them, as they did in China. Most people don’t even know they have been on this journey, let alone what they have experienced. They are each just another person.

For several days after their return home, we (family and friends) will give them that deserved recognition. Their fellow students and teachers will also give them praise and attention for what they have done. They will certainly see life in a different light, questioning and comparing everything. They will now be aware of things they used to take for granted. They are coming home with a wealth of knowledge and understanding and they need to share it, to test it, to use it.

In time, these young people will work their way back from this exhilarating experience to being themselves again. They will never be the same, that’s for sure. But in a few months, they will be back to “normal.”

Over the next couple of weeks, because of the carefully designed program, these guys will transition from their celebrity status as they perform and share their journey with students throughout the state of Vermont. Their journey will become a star for many younger students to look and wish upon. The young people who experience the JE troupe will see that this might be them one day. Maybe . . . Hopefully.

We mustn’t forget that this journey is largely the result of the the previous journeys’ successes (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008). Had those efforts not proven worthy and successful, this journey would only be a “what if.” JE2010 now becomes a member of this very special program. Their proud and exciting chapter is almost written.

Alright folks, the Boston Marathon is underway. You’re almost there, you can do it, it’s all downhill from here . . . looking good!!”

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(photos bottom right): For sale - one pool table, slightly used.

And we’ll leave you (for now) with a painting found in the history museum with an amazing likeness to Jenny and Bahman! What are the odds? And who is that other guy? He sure looks familiar . . .

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[JE2010] [April 18] [April 19] [April 20]

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Program Director: Tom Connor
webmaster/narrator: John Reinhardt