Providence Elementary welcomes new Mandarin Chinese teacher

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- Providence Elementary students greeted a special guest who arrived in Huntsville Thursday, coming all the way from China.

Mandarin Chinese teacher Li Xiulan, or "Miss Li" as the students already call her, arrived at the Huntsville International Airport and was surprised there by a welcoming committee of students and Huntsville City Schools staff.

Li is joining the Providence Elementary School staff, and starting soon, she will teach Mandarin there in two thirty-minute classes per week.

She tells WHNT that she's very excited to begin her work.

School officials said the classroom teachers will have activities using the Mandarin lessons that they can add into their regular classes, and principal Paul Bonner added it's a good way to add something unique to students' education.

Li comes to Huntsville through a US State Department grant. Her lessons will fulfill a language requirement for the students. Bonner says this is the first time an Alabama school has won the grant to provide a Mandarin teacher.

"Being a city with international corporations and interest, Mandarin is quickly becoming a major language of business. This experience will expand our students' horizons," said Bonner.

Li is being housed by other school staff for now, and she will soon be visiting the school to prepare for her classes.