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Delegation from Swedish city visits RPS 205

Four years ago, student Isaac Cotton-Hayes coached the visiting mayor of Lidkoping, Sweden, in an underwater robot race at Eisenhower Middle School. The robot helped illustrate manufacturing education at Eisenhower.

The Lidkoping mayor — Kjell Hedvall — was back this week at the Rockford Public Schools. He reunited with Hayes, who’s now a senior at Guilford High School. Hayes gave the mayor a tour of the fabrications lab at Guilford and later confessed to a dream: That someday he would be able to go to Sweden to visit the mayor and the rest of the visiting delegation from Lidkoping.

Chris Magee, high school academy coach at Guilford, has her own dream. She hopes the visit leads to more opportunities for cultural exchange. “Witnessing today’s visit makes my heart smile,” Magee said. “I’m a proud educator today.”

Magee’s wishes might be fulfilled. The Swedish delegation met with RPS 205 Superintendent Ehren Jarrett and Chief of Communications Earl Dotson Jr. on Wednesday to explore educational partnerships and project opportunities between De la Gardiegymnasiet — a high school in Lidkoping, Sweden — and RPS 205.

About two years ago, collaboration between RPS 205 and the Swedish school resulted in the construction of a home — the Swedish Standard House at 1301 Benton St. Students from East High School worked side-by-side with Swedish students for three years, building the house from the ground up. They used the layering principle of Scandinavian construction, resulting in a super-insulated house. The project was a partnership with the SwedishAmerican Foundation.

Linnea Bengtsson is an international business developer for Lidkoping who’s based in Rockford; she helped plan the Swedish delegation’s visit to RPS 205. She has a mantra:  Grow locally by working globally.  It’s a smart approach and a great collaboration for our students.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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