George School was honored in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday, June 21, 2019 for our help in establishing a strong friendship with the Vietnam-US Society (VUS). The award was presented to faculty members Ralph Lelii, Chéri Mellor, and Carter Sio ’76 for their ongoing support of the program and many visits to the country.
“It was wonderful to visit with people working with VUS and to see how that partnership is flourishing,” said Ben Croucher, head of the History Department and 2019 Vietnam service trip co-leader. Ben accepted the award along with co-leaders Sharada Shreve-Price, history teacher, and Steven Fletcher, service learning coordinator.
The VUS and George School first established a relationship in 1995 when the school was the first US education establishment to visit Vietnam through the help of the VUS. As of 2017, George School students, faculty, and staff have taken part in more than eighteen service trips to Vietnam.
Ralph first began working with VUS in the early 1990s and has led six of the George School trips to Vietnam. “On our first trip, Tom English, his wife, and I stood in the street and watched George School students drive to different homes in wagons, on bicycles, in flat bed trucks, on the very streets the United States bombed in the sixties. It was pure Light.”
“I am so humbled to receive this honor,” said Carter. “The five trips to Vietnam are some of the highlights of my thirty-five year career. It is a beautiful country and the people are kind and receptive to Americans, which is something I’ve always found incredible after the war.”