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President Hu Jintao Visits Asia Society School

President Hu Jintao of China speaks with a Walter Payton College Prep student during a visit to the Chicago school, Jan 21, 2010. (McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images)

President Hu Jintao of China speaks with a Walter Payton College Prep student during a visit to the Chicago school, Jan 21, 2010. (McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, January 21, 2011 - Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley visited Walter Payton College Preparatory High School today, an Asia Society International Studies School.

Walter Payton students designed an elaborate welcoming ceremony that included a dance performance as well as student speeches delivered in Chinese.

The highlight? Students cheered when the President Hu invited 20 members of the faculty and student body to visit China as his guests this summer. "I'm especially struck by how bright and inquisitive the students are, and by your many talents," he said, as he extended the invitation.

"I hope all the students here value your special time [in school], study hard, enrich your lives, and lay a [good] foundation for your future career and life," the Chinese leader concluded.

Walter Payton in Chicago received a prestigious international studies award from Asia Society in 2007. Since then, Asia Society has worked with Walter Payton to model other international studies schools off its successful model.

The vision of Walter Payton College Prep is to give all students rigorous academic and experiential education that prepares them to be leaders locally and globally. Courses throughout the curriculum, including in English, math, science, and the arts, are designed to let students learn about international cultures and have the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with people of other countries and cultures. All students study Chinese, and have the opportunity to learn Japanese, Latin, French, or Spanish as well.

The mayor summed it up best by saying, "This should be a day for all of you to remember for the rest of your lives.”