New downtown L.A. boarding school aims to enhance culture, education

Oct 27, 2014 by

The elevator doors slide open on the 11th Floor, and Annie Chau, 14, walks down a plush carpeted hallway, a backpack slung over her shoulder.

She pushes open a door to reveal a lushly appointed dining room with a sweeping view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. A catered lunch has been laid out — gyros, saffron rice and pita bread with more than a dozen fixings. She joins a group of teenagers gathered around an iPad at a polished granite table.

It’s lunchtime at the American University Preparatory School, a new private boarding school that occupies two floors of a luxury downtown hotel off Figueroa and Third streets.

The school is the brainchild of Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, who made his fortune in real estate.

California has seen a wave of Chinese investment in the last few years — more than $1.3 billion between 2000 and 2011 alone, according to a report by Rhodium Group, a New York consulting firm that studies global economic trends. Immigrant wealth has built hotels, shopping centers and mansions across the suburbs of the San Gabriel Valley.

But the high school represents a different kind of international investment — an attempt to add to the city’s cultural and educational infrastructure for both foreigners and Americans.

The school caters to students from families in the U.S. and around the world. Tuition and board cost $45,000 a year, every student gets a school-issued iPad and some of the teachers hold doctoral degrees. Some financial aid is available.

via New downtown L.A. boarding school aims to enhance culture, education – LA Times.

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