LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - On October 26 through November 3, 2013, the Lady Berries basketball team from Logansport High School will travel to China, making the very first Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) sanctioned trip outside the United States.
The group of seventeen Logansport ambassadors going on this historic trip includes eleven student basketball players for the Berries and six adults. Leading the group are Mr. Greg Fisher, Athletic Director for Logansport Schools, and Coach Jerry Hoover of the Berries.
Beijing will be the first stop on the itinerary, where the team will tour the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.
The team will then fly to Hangzhou, capitol of Zhejiang Province, Indiana’s sister-state, where they will be hosted for a welcome luncheon by provincial officials. In Hangzhou, Coach Hoover and the Berries will hold basketball clinics at several Chinese high schools.
Their next stop in China will be Jinhua, in Zhejiang Province. The Berries will be hosted for a welcome banquet by the Jinhua government and education leaders. The City of Logansport and the Logansport Community School Corporation, as part of their cultural outreach program, have established eight sister-school relationships with schools in the Jinhua area. The visit to Jinhua will be the latest exchange activity as part of this program. While in Jinhua, the Berries will hold basketball clinics for a Chinese high school and a Chinese middle school that are part of the sister-school program.
The team will end their week-long stay by traveling to Shanghai, China and departing from Shanghai to return home to Logansport.
“We are so excited and honored to have this opportunity to be the first Indiana school to take our team to China and renew friendships and establish new ones," said Michele Starkey, Superintendent of the Logansport Community School Corporation. And Coach Jerry Hoover adds, “The girls and I look forward to teaching Chinese coaches and players about what makes Indiana basketball great!”
The funding of the trip is taking two forms. Deanna Crispen of the Cass County Community Foundation is spearheading a local Logansport fund drive in an effort to raise $30,000 to cover the costs for the students’ roundtrip economy class airfare going from Chicago to Beijing, and their return trip to Chicago from Shanghai. “We are most appreciative of the warm outpouring of support from our local community to send our girls to China for this once in a lifetime experience,” said Deanna Crispen.
The rest of the funding for the trip to China will be covered by Grand Era Int’l Company, the education foundation of the Zhejiang Provincial government. “We are so grateful to Mr. Josh Zhao, Managing Director of Grand Era and the Zhejiang Provincial government, for making this trip possible for our team," said Michele Starkey.
“The China trip by the Lady Berries basketball team is the direct result of the strong relationships Mayor Franklin has been cultivating since January of last year with the Chinese Consulate in Chicago and with the leaders of Zhejiang Province," says Ingraham. He adds, “Mayor Franklin is fashioning one of the strongest platforms of any Indiana community with China in the areas of cultural, educational and business opportunities for the students, citizens and companies in Logansport.”
“The visit to China by our girls team will bring great exposure and recognition to Logansport High School, the City of Logansport and the State of Indiana," said Mayor Franklin, adding, “this group of basketball ambassadors will validate the fact that our community is serious about forming lasting relationships with the global world, and I am very proud of them.”
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