On 17 October, Dr. James S.C. Chao returned to his native land, accompanied by his daughters, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine L. Chao, and Deputy Chairman of Foremost Group, Angela Chao — to celebrate 20 years of educational excellence at Yi-Ren Kindergarten. Dr. Chao took the opportunity to make another substantial gift to upgrading facilities at Yi-Ren Kindergarten’s nursery and support general education programs in his hometown. The primary school was supported with an endowed gift from Dr. and Mrs. Chao in 1995, and its facilities have been expanded over the years. The school is named in honor of Dr. Chao’s late father, Mr. Yi-Ren Chao.
A Warm Homecoming
China News Service reported that returning home for this occasion was an emotional experience for Dr. Chao. He recounted how much it warmed his heart to receive such a welcome from the local residents, to visit the land of his childhood, and to reconnect once again with his father’s roots and timeless vision. This time, Dr. Chao said, he also brought his daughters and son-in-law to share the experience of immersion in the traditions and ethics of their forefathers. He said it was the first time all four had attended a public event in China together. All these circumstances combined to make it a very powerful visit for the entire Chao family.
The Value of Education—From Generation to Generation
Angela Chao recounted her grandfather’s challenge in providing education for his own children, explaining how he had to juggle the cost of taking care of the family’s needs with the costs of his son’s studies. Every fall, before school began, her grandfather would be forced to ask other family members for a loan so that he could send her father to school. But her grandparents believed so strongly in the value of education, they were able to face these adversities with strength. Their belief in the value of education was passed on to her father and by her father to his daughters.
Secretary Chao noted how important it is, especially during the formative years, that children gain a good foundation in education, so that they are prepared to be participants in today’s increasingly global environment, which requires high levels of educational achievement in order to be successful. She finished by adding that she hopes the spirit of her grandfather and father’s commitment to education, through the hardships they faced, is kindled in the hearts of the young children growing up in Yi-Ren Kindergarten, giving them the fortitude to overcome their own challenges.