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Students pose at a council meeting.
Gilbert, Ariz.- Students from Gilbert, Arizona are headed overseas this summer to sister cities Leshan, China and Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland.  The exchange program allows selected students from the U.S. and the sister cities to visit one another for two weeks each year.

This year, Highland High School senior Kathryn Cuiffo and Gilbert High School senior Emma Helvig are traveling to Newtownabbey. Highland High School senior Curtis Lunt and Gilbert Classical Academy senior Peyton Mahony are going to Leshan.  Their counterparts, Caitlin Hunter and Jamie McCluskey, from Newtownabbey, and Yang and Jessica from Leshan, enjoyed their trip to Gilbert in early July.

        Students tour Gilbert Town Hall.
While in their sister city, students spend time learning about the local government, sightseeing, and experiencing the day-to-day culture and lifestyle.  The program has been establishing cultural and economic ties with other regions of the world since it began more than a decade ago.

Students will share their experiences when they return in August.  Gilbert Digital will provide updates on their stories.  For more information, click here.