School News

Richard Beall Reporting from China

Greetings from a high speed train (190 mph) floating past the flat-as-a-board Chinese countryside between Jinan and Tianjin. I am traveling with three other school representatives from Arizona, California, and Indiana and our Chinese colleagues, interviewing prospective students and meeting with the parents of our current students from Beijing to Shenzhen.

If you are like most Americans, some of these cities are little known, despite the fact that they are larger than New York City in population. Shenzhen has over 12 million citizens—and growing. Tomorrow I’ll be in Shanghai, with its 24 million residents. The scale of everything in China seems like it comes from a different dimension of human life, yet the individuals we meet are so gracious, generous, and determined to progress.

That is especially true of the students and parents who come to interview for enrollment in our school. Some have very little English competency, while others are fluent. Many do enjoy math and science—often our stereotype for Chinese students—but they are also artists, musicians, athletes, and volunteers for the good of their communities. As with our current Chinese students, we have met kids who will be great contributors to the life of our school and Fairfield community.

I flew into Hong Kong so I could meet with current parents of 3 students from the Shenzhen area. Thirty years ago Shenzhen was a fishing village of 30,000 people. Then it became a special economic development zone. Now it is on its way to become one of the world’s largest and most influential cities with much wealth—and the manufacture of 90% of the world’s iPhones. The father of Michael (Xue Yubo) hosted me for a full day, including refreshments on the 101st floor of the city’s tallest building. It was wonderful meeting with the parents of Michael, Tim (Dai Hongzhang), and Chen Xi.

Just across the nearby river is the district of Hong Kong, but the major city was an hour away. I visited there one afternoon, a vision of almost unimaginable population density stretching upward. Nestled amidst the downtown skyscrapers, the Hong Kong Park features an enclosed aviary the size of a football field, with the soaring and serenades of over 600 exotic songbirds. From the top of Victoria Peak—accessed by antique tram from the British days—you look upon the entire harbor, with its modern shopping malls and laser light shows.

The highlight of the trip to Beijing was not the local iconic sites (no time for sightseeing this time!) but the meeting with more parents: Ivan (Liu Yifan), Bernie (An Boning), Hefei Jiang, Wei Xi, and Cassidy (Wang Yuxing). I’ve always enjoyed connecting with the parents of our students, but to have only 1-2 hours together heightens the anticipation and appreciation. Of course we hope that they will also visit us in Fairfield, especially for graduation this year.


In the next seven days we will be in seven different cities. During this time I’ve been busy finishing our preparations for our senior trip to Costa Rica (March 18-27) and the ISACS evaluation visit by the 12-member team (April 21-24), and assorted other school matters.

In between meetings, movement between cities, and meals, I’ve had time to reflect on how fortunate we are to have a Consciousness-Based approach. Especially when you meet kids like Catherine, who traveled hours from Qingdao to Jinan with her mother, just to interview with her “dream school.” Or William, a brilliant student who chose our school because, as he said, “I don’t want to lose myself in life. I don’t want to forget myself.” He had the clearest appreciation of TM of any student I’ve met in China.

How many of these students will actually enroll at Maharishi School is hard to say. So many factors are involved. But what we hear from them should reinforce what you already have—a great technique to dissolve stress, optimize brain functioning, and expand creativity in a community like no other.

I look forward to seeing you all again, with more stories and pictures to share.

All the best,

Richard
 

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