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Mount Carmel students host visitors from the Far East...side of Kingsport

Jeff Bobo • Mar 7, 2019 at 10:15 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — Students at Mount Carmel Elementary were given an opportunity last week to sample exotic cuisine from the Far East — as in the far east side of Kingsport, thanks to a special visit from managers and staff of the Panda Express restaurant. 

Third grade teacher Kim McCann saw a link on social media about applying for a grant to have Panda Express employees visit your school and speak to the students about the Chinese New Year.

The program, which was held last Thursday, also included an activity — teaching students how to use chopsticks — and then every student received a snack from Panda Express.

“I received an email telling me they were going to accept the request, and I was thrilled,” McCann said. “I proceeded to ask if they could visit our entire school. They had to check on that request but accepted it as well. This was very exciting.”

She added, “They brought teriyaki chicken, orange chicken, rice and chow mein noodles. The manager, Corey ONeil, brought a wonderful team with him, and they all worked so well with all the students. They were very patient and kind. Panda himself came along for the celebration. This was a great community outreach with our school.”

Panda Express has a 22-page curriculum that it follows for its Chinese New Year school program.

“They mainly talked about the Chinese culture and what school is like for students in that country,” McCann said. “I think one thing that really struck a chord with our students was the fact that when students in their classrooms want to speak, instead of raising their hand like we do here, they stand up. That kind of carried over to the next day in my classroom when a student wanted to speak, and he said he better stand up.”

Originally the program was awarded to Mount Carmel Elementary’s third grade only, or about 55 students. But when it was approved, the school asked if all 300 students could be included and Panda Express agreed.

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