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Houston Independent School District Warmly Applauds the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group

Houston Independent School District Warmly Applauds the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group
Houstonian’s warm hospitality last year was a major reason for the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group to come back to Houston to give another performance this year. This was the first time that the troupe has ever traveled to the same city two years in a row in the 29 years since its inception in 1988.
Promotional efforts of the Taiwanese government have led to a resurgence of traditional Chinese folk games like shuttlecock kicking, diabolo spinning, and rope skipping liven up students’ between-class recesses and their afterschool hours in elementary and secondary schools in Taiwan. And each year, students in primary and secondary schools in Taipei constantly practice, as an extracurricular activity, and throughout their vacations, to be eligible to be selected for the Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group that goes to perform overseas. In order to provide more students with the opportunity to showcase their techniques, no individual student will be selected twice.
Twenty-seven highly-skilled students, aged 11 to 14, from elementary and junior secondary schools in Taipei City teamed up to form this year’s Taipei Youth Folk Sports Group and perform in four cities in the United States: Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. After being selected, the performers had to participate in one-month of intensive training before the tour.
In spite of the boot camp-style training and exhausting travel schedule, these young performers are really pleased to be able to act as junior ambassadors of culture and education, just like their predecessors. Those folk games have developed into a unique style of folk art that incorporates different cultural elements from Taiwan’s indigenous culture, Hakka culture, along with gymnastics, drama, and dancing.
The Folk Sports Group was introduced to the Fort Bend Independent School District, and its Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre, by the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston. The visiting students from Taiwan and local students had time to enjoy interacting with each other playing some of the traditional Chinese folk games while representatives of Taipei City and Fort Bend Independent School District discussed possibilities for future collaborations.
To show how much they value this partnership, the Taipei Department of Education scheduled an exclusive performance for Houston Independent School District teachers and staff members on July 21, 2016. The Folk Sports Group’s presentation was tremendously well-received by its audience.

Photo: Sophie Chou, Director of the Education Division of TECO in Houston; Tseng Tsan-chin, Deputy Commissioner of Taipei Education Department; Chin Huei-Chu, Taipei City Councilor; Greg Meyers, Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board Trustee; and HISD teachers and staff members with the Folk Sports Group