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Valley middle schoolers head to China to meet pen pals

PHOENIX -- Several Phoenix middle school students began the trip of a lifetime Tuesday to meet their pen pals who live thousands of miles away.

"I'm so excited for them," said Kadi Angeli, a counselor at Sonoran Trails Middle School. "My hope for every child who studies a foreign language is that it will broaden their horizon. I hope this trip shows them how big the world is and what opportunities exist for them out there."

Six students, along with the school's principal, are visiting China for two weeks. Sonoran Trails started their current sister school program with the help of the Dept. of State and two grants. The school's first relationship is with No. 6 Middle School in Yichang, Hubei Province in 2012.

Since establishing the relationship, the children have kept in touch via email, letters and videos.

The visit will be the first for either school.

The goal is to expand the current program to allow for more Sonoran Trails students who are not only studying Mandarin, but French and Spanish, to have the opportunity to be immersed in the culture.

On this trip -- paid for by each student's parents -- they'll visit historic sights in cities like Beijing and Xi'an before meeting with their Chinese peers at the school.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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