Congrats to award winner, kudos to Chinese program


Two recent events bear commenting upon before they fade too far into the past.

First, we offer a belated congratulations to Catrina Alexander for being name Citizen of the Year by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.

The director of parks and recreation for Mount Airy, Alexander and her department are known for the extremely high level of professionalism she brings to the job, leading her staff to maintain high expectations in service to the city and its residents.

Beyond her work, though, Alexander is involved in so many local organizations and efforts, it’s hard to imagine how she finds the time to do all that she does.

Here’s part of a statement from Teresa Lewis, a former city commissioner and owner of Workforce Unlimited, which sponsors the award.

“Despite an executive-level job, a spouse and two children, our nominee finds the time to be involved in a leadership position with Surry Sunrise Rotary, United Fund, Surry Friends of Youth, the Heritage Club, the relocation and retirement committee and numerous other groups and associations.”

Others touted her positive, outgoing personality as directly responsible for helping to bring new business and tourists to Mount Airy; while still others talked of how she has a deep caring for people.

Alexander certainly exemplifies the best of the type of community minded folks that make Mount Airy such a special place.

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Second, we offer kudos to the Mount Airy City School System for the continuing work in the area of building relations with China.

For three years the city has taught Mandarin, even sponsoring a trip with local students, residents and officials visiting China. The city schools have also hosted Chinese exchange students, that last group leaving just a few days ago.

The schools gave the students a big send-off on Jan. 28, the Chinese New Year, with a party built around that theme.

Ever since the schools have offered Chinese as a language study, officials have said this is key to the student’s futures, that China is becoming a dominant nation in the economic world and it will be a significant advantage for students to know the language and more about that country.

We’re not sure studying Chinese in school will have a significant effect on eventual job prospects for the students, but we do believe anything done that breaks down cultural and political barriers and makes the world a little more peaceful is a good program.

And that is what the city school system is doing with its Chinese student exchange program — helping to build a better world, one student at a time.

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