A highlight of our time in Shanghai was our visit to Xuhui High School, a school originally founded by French missionaries at almost the same time Williston Seminary was founded in Easthampton. Today, Xuhui is one of the city’s most acclaimed and sought-after schools.
Similar to American public schools like the Bronx School of Science in New York, Xuhui serves students in Shanghai based upon a demanding election process. The school boasts a well-kept museum, or what we would call an archive, cataloguing its history from the first principal (who has an entire room dedicated to his tenure) to its current educational mission. The school also proudly displays photographs of its graduates who have achieved fame in every variety of field and enterprise.
The day we toured, the school was in the midst of monthly examinations, so we were not able to interact with students. However, from what we were able to view, classrooms approximated their large public school counterparts in the United States. We were generously greeted by Xuhui’s principal who shared with me the nature of her job, and so I can now affirm that both Chinese and American heads of school have common experiences when it comes to administrative meetings!