This past spring Harker hosted a series of receptions in Asia for Harker’s English Language Institute (ELI) and to reconnect with several alumni now residing there. The unique ELI program specializes in preparing international students for success at the nation’s premier boarding schools and English-speaking international schools.
“Harker has an outstanding reputation worldwide for this unique program,” said Joe Rosenthal, Harker’s executive director of advancement, who organizes the receptions each year and who directed Harker’s elementary boarding program for many years. “It is wonderful that so many of our former boarding students and their families are able to recommend their relatives, friends and business associates to our ELI summer program.”
In addition to recruiting students for the ELI program, Rosenthal visited with many boarding alumni during the trip. In Korea, a group of alumni gathered at the Outback Steak House on a Friday night before the ELI reception on Saturday, where Alex Lee ’97 agreed to head up the Korean alumni group. It was very impressive to have so many alumni attend the recruiting reception as well. The prospective families were impressed when Danny Yoo MS ’00, who was class president at Phillips Exeter, spoke about how Harker prepared him for his high school and his studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious school of business. “We had alumni who also attended Harker’s upper school, Choate Rosemary Hall, Woodside Priory, Stoney Brook and Mercersburg on hand to validate how well Harker prepares students for success at high school and beyond,” noted Rosenthal. Special thanks to Young Lee ’93 who once again served as the translator for our program and to the family of Chris ’03 and Harry MS ’08 Kim for hosting Harker’s visit in Korea.
Rosenthal then traveled to Beijing, where Harker parents Lucy Li and Allan Zhang (Bryan Zhang, K), hosted a very successful reception. Li and Zhang were proud to recommend Harker to the large crowd at the event. After the short trip to Beijing, Rosenthal headed to Shanghai to enjoy dinner with some parents of alumni, which was followed by another well-attended reception at the Renaissance Hotel. Then it was off to Hong Kong where boarding alumni Toku Chen ’92 and his wife, Candy, assisted him with the reception there. Chen also agreed to lead the effort in creating a Harker alumni group in Hong Kong.
The next ELI reception took place in Taipei, Taiwan, where alumni parents Ting and Angela Herh (Stephanie ’08) hosted the event, as they had done for past ELI programs. “In addition to having the alumni receptions and the recruiting receptions, it was a wonderful opportunity to visit with and to thank and show the progress that has been made from several of our major benefactors to our Capital Campaign,” Rosenthal said. Rosenthal was also impressed by the people in Taiwan who recognized the Harker name and were familiar with its international reputation. “We had three different families that came up to us while we were waiting for our guests to arrive, who said, ‘My goodness! The Harker School! We know all about them!’” he recalled.
In Kyoto, Japan, Rosenthal met a family from Kobe who planned to send all four of their children to the ELI program for the summer. The trip concluded in Tokyo, where Rosenthal met with Keiichi Watase, head of the lower school at Harker’s sister-school Tamagawa Gakuen, who has served as Harker’s official translator for the past decade. Harker grandparent Zenichi Ogawa (Kei MS ’03) kindly hosted the final reception in Tokyo, which Rosenthal said was “unbelievably over-subscribed.” About 70 people attended the reception in a room set up to serve 30, Rosenthal estimated. Rosenthal said the three week-long trip resulted in an impressive 103 serious inquiries from families about the ELI program.
“It brings me great joy to visit with so many of our international alumni,” Rosenthal said. “It seems like only yesterday when these wonderful Harker students were 12 and 13 years old, living in our dorm. I am so proud to see them all grown up and leading successful and happy lives.”