Chinese sister student delegation arrives in Cave Creek

Photo courtesy of Gina Brown

Forty (40) Chinese middle and high school students from Yichang, Hubei Province in China completed their inaugural trip to the USA on August 16-20. The Chinese students (ages 13-17) arrived in the Cave Creek School District to meet face to face with their host families. The Chinese students attended Sonoran Trails Middle School and Cactus Shadows High School with their CCUSD host students,  taking math quizzes, participating in dance class and even going to French class. The evening event led them to experience a win at the first Cactus Shadows High School home football game of the season against Carl Hayden HS and a great group photo on the 50-yard line during the halftime show.  Cristina Ladas, CCUSD’s World Language Coordinator said, “Cave Creek doesn’t just do a great job teaching languages from kinder on up, we also develop the multicultural aspect of learning languages with sister school projects like this one.”

The Chinese high school principal and teachers from both the middle and high school in China led the delegation and spent a day touring the Cave Creek schools that teach Chinese (Cactus Shadows High School, Sonoran Trails Middle School, Horseshoe Trails Elementary and Lone Mountain Elementary). A USA-China signing ceremony between the high school principals renewed the partnership that began several years ago when the first Chinese guest teacher came to Sonoran Trails Middle School to teach for one year through a program sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of State.  “We had a fantastic time with the boys from China! It was very fun to share our food, culture, and sights with them and learn about their culture as well.”, said one hosting parent.

The weekend was full of trips to Sedona, Lake Pleasant, even the Grand Canyon as CCUSD host families went above and beyond to show their Chinese students how to have a great time in the desert. There were tears and hugs goodbye and invitations for the CCUSD students to make the trip to Yichang, China so they could return the favor.

Dr. Debbi Burdick said, “What a fantastic opportunity for not only our Chinese visitors but our CCUSD middle and high school students to host students from across the globe.  The YiChang Sister School partnerships provide our schools with an expanse of opportunities and experiences for our CCUSD world language learners.”

CCUSD is the only public school district offering its students a World Language (Chinese, French and Spanish) PreK-12.  For more information, please contact CCUSD at 480-575-2000 or visit our website at