We’re back, after way too long. A lot has happened since we last blogged, and I’ll be posting every few days for the next couple of weeks. Today I wanted to lay out some of the more important things I’ll be writing about:
1) Yangjuan Primary school is closed. The decision was made by the Yanyuan County Education Office last June. Enrollments had declined from 320 in 2010 to 76 in 2016, for reasons I’ll be setting out in subsequent posts. Everyone–students, teachers, alumni, foreign friends–was sad to see it go, but also recognized that it was a sign of social change. This photo is not of the school, but it expresses the feeling of what has happened.
2) Yangjuan alumni successes continue. There are at least six schoolteachers among Yangjuan graduates now, and I saw several of them at work or near their workplaces on a recent trip to Liangshan. I will be featuring them and some other successful graduates in more subsequent posts.
3) We’ve decided to taper off our scholarship program over the next three years. College is becoming increasingly affordable for Yangjuan alumni families, and so we want to continue to support current college students through to graduation, but we will hold off on picking up new scholarship recipients.
4) We still need your support for the next three years. We will again be producing a beautiful 2017 calendar this year, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with our generous donors as we complete our very successful project.
5) We’re continuing our research efforts. The last two years featured flooding and soil changes, two things that are of great concern to those people who remain in the area and farm. I’ll blog about those in a week or two, also.
6) We’re also planning to write a complete history of Yangjuan Primary School, from conception to closing. It should be a good book, published bilingually. One thing we did this summer was sort out the school’s archives, after they were dumped unceremoniously into some large burlappy bags. More about this later: watch this space.