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Shanghai exchange students visit Malabar library, planetarium

Elizabeth Dawson explains the Underground Railroad and Mansfield’s connection to it during Chinese exchange students’ visit to Malabar.

      Thirty young Chinese students got a taste of Mansfield’s culture and history Wednesday, all from the comfort of the library at Malabar Intermediate School.

      The group of 10- to 13-year-olds from Shanghai, including their teachers, arrived on July 5 for a 12-day visit sponsored by Forte International Exchange Program. Paul Lintern, pastor of St. Luke’s Point of Grace, is coordinating the visit, which includes lodging with host families and visits to a variety of sites in and around Mansfield.

      Joe Bridenbaugh, an instructor at Pioneer Career and Technology Center, was one of four volunteers who led discussions in the Malabar library that centered on local culture, industry and history, including the legend of Johnny Appleseed.

      “The kids visited Amish country around Dalton on Tuesday,” Bridenbaugh said. “This morning they are divided into four groups to rotate around the library to learn more about our area.”

      Elizabeth Dawson, another of the volunteers in the library, said the sessions also were intended to help the Chinese youngsters practice their conversational English.

      Later the Shanghai students visited Malabar’s planetarium for a program presented by math and science teacher Brad Strong.

      They will depart Mansfield on Tuesday.

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