New Confucius garden helping Kolter ES ‘cultivate’ global graduates

“Growing” Global Graduates just got easier at HISD’s Kolter Elementary School, thanks to a new garden built in honor of a legendary Chinese philosopher.

The Confucius Garden — which has eight beds for cultivating traditional Chinese herbs such as mustard, cilantro, and parsley, as well as two different varieties of bok choi — was unveiled during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 29. The garden was built with funds from Hanban and the Asia Society, which provides a grant to Kolter each year as a member of its Confucius Classrooms Network.

“We are so appreciative of the Asia Society and everything it has done for us,” said Principal Steve Shetzer. “We look forward to watching this garden grow along with our students.”

Kolter is one of only five Confucius Classrooms campuses in HISD (the others are Sharpstown International, Furr HS, Lamar HS, and the Houston Academy for International Studies), and its students honor the philosopher in a different way annually.

This year, the school expanded its existing outdoor education area to create the garden, which also boasts several seating areas, a river-stone walking path, and a statue of Confucius. Magnet coordinator Kevin Anderson noted that it was all put together in about a month by the three Chinese language instructors: Wen Chen, Liling Yu, and Lei Chen, an exchange teacher from China.

“You guys are really ahead of your time,” Asia Society Director of Education Kelly Kleinkort told students. “Because in learning about China and mastering Mandarin Chinese, you are going to be the bridge that connects the U.S. and China. We need future leaders who are globally competent and ready to navigate the global economy and society. I am so proud to be a part of this.”

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