Bangor school to raise funds for quake victims

Posted April 14, 2010, at 10:33 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Within hours of learning Wednesday about the powerful earthquake that rocked her homeland, Bangor Chinese School President Jing Zhang already had plans for a fundraiser in motion.

“It is our obligation to do that,” Zhang said Wednesday afternoon, during a break between classes. “We would like to try to collect some donations.” Zhang and her husband came to Bangor from China in the late 1990s and started the Bangor Chinese School in 2005.

Though Zhang’s family members in northeast China were a safe distance from the devastation, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Qinghai Province, near the mountainous western border with Tibet, so far has claimed nearly 600 lives and injured more than 10,000, according to published reports. That earthquake was followed by at least two powerful aftershocks.

Zhang said that the school is gearing up to do what it did almost two years ago, in the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit China in three decades. That quake, which registered 7.8 on the Richter scale, killed more than 12,000 people in the area of Sichuan province.

Proceeds of the 2008 fundraising effort were used to help rebuild a school in the area affected by that earthquake, she said, adding that she had similar plans for any funds raised this time.

Despite the devastation it caused, Zhang said Wednesday’s earthquake won’t affect the Bangor school’s coming trip to China, where a 10-member group from the school will visit Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghaui, which are on the other side of the more than 3,000-mile-wide country.

Four adults and six students, ages 12 and up, are set to fly out of Bangor International Airport Saturday morning for a nine-day study tour that will take them to historical and modern sites and to schools, where the Maine students will get to see firsthand what it’s like to be a student in China, Zhang said.

Donations toward China’s earthquake relief effort may be made payable to Maine Support China and sent to Maine Support China, 53 Cumberland St., Bangor 04401.

For information, call Zhang at 990-0710 or contact her by e-mail at jingzhang@bangorchinese.com.

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