Performing Arts Cultural Dancers
Each year, Killeen Sister Cities sponsors a Korean dance troupe to perform in Killeen. The Asian American Arts Center’s Korean Traditional Dance Troupe flew from Washington D.C. and performed at Killeen High School on April 17, 2010. In 2009, the Puripae Korean Traditional Performing Art Group, a percussion group that has performed in 67 countries and won numerous awards in international competition, came to Ellison High School and performed for a packed auditorium of approximately 800 people. In 2007 and 2008, the Chosun University Folkloric Dance Troupe combined elegance and artistry as they performed at Central Texas College, the Plaza Hotel, and various Korean churches in the Killeen area.
For the 2010 year, worldwide known winners of the 2005 Battle of the Year, Korean break dancing crew known as "Last For One," performed in Killeen at the Killeen High School Auditorium on Saturday, March 12, 2011. Check out their performance below!
Annual Student Educational Exchange Program
In 2006, Killeen Sister Cities and Osan entered an educational agreement to exchange 4 to 6 high school students each year. This involves selecting local high school students who wish to travel to Osan, Korea, in June to live approximately one month with their exchange partners and their Korean families. In turn, these American students host Osan students who live locally with their American exchange partners and their families for one month in February. This is a life-changing experience for students who have the opportunity to “live and learn” the culture and create life-long bonds with their host families. Anyone interested in participating should inquire through the local high schools since the application process is handled through the school district.
For more detailed information and to fill out the application and agreement form, please click below:
Annual Soccer Exchange Program
Killeen Sister Cities initiated the soccer program in 2007 when it collaborated with Osan to create a sports exchange project. Currently, local city teams travel to Osan every odd year to play Osan teams as part of the Sister Cities annual soccer tournament. In even years, the soccer tournament is held in Killeen and the Osan teams travel here. In both cases, teams primarily comprise high school students who have a chance to travel, compete, and learn the culture of the hosting country.
In 2009 we saw three soccer matches in Leo Buckley Stadium between boys’ teams. In addition to the matches, Killeen hosted a BBQ at Belton Lake, a shopping trip to San Marcos, a day in Killeen’s Aquatic Center, a welcome dinner with city officials, and other activities during the Osan team’s week long visit.
Annual International Festival
In following its exchange mission, Killeen Sister Cities has provided a medium for displaying and exchanging culture through dance, music, crafts, and food. This year marks the 15th International Festival, usually held in October or November at the Killeen Community Center on Business 190 and W.S. Young Drive. The festival is a one day free event and features cultural music and dance performances, ethnic crafts and food for sale, and a children’s art contest. The date and time of the festival is generally advertised in the Killeen Daily Herald in October. This event is partially funded from a grant from the city’s hotel/motel occupancy tax.
On October 18, 2009, Killeen Sister Cities Osan Korea Committee (KSCOSAN) hosted the 15th Annual International Festival commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. The annual festival fulfills KSCOSAN’s mission of exchange by providing a venue for Killeen’s various cultural groups to perform, exhibit, and exchange ideas. A number of performers, food vendors, and booths selling cultural arts and crafts along with a children’s art show attracted over 2,100 visitors.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
By 2003, Killeen Sister Cities had raised $200,000, through organizational fundraising and donations, to commission Lee Jin Ja, a renowned Korean sculptress, to design and construct a Korean memorial commemorating Korean and American veterans who fought in the Korean War. This statue depicts American and Korean soldiers, strong in military spirit, carrying American and Korean flags, crossed in the spirit of cooperation, as they fight together for freedom. The memorial was dedicated on June 21, 2003, and was presented as a gift from Killeen Sister Cities to the City of Killeen. It is located next to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on W. S. Young Drive. The memorial has served as the focal point for several Korean War Veterans awards ceremonies, and the Korean War Veterans Association holds a retreat ceremony at the memorial each year in July.
2009 Soccer & Student Education Exchange Program's Trip to Korea
Each year, as part of its mission of exchange, Killeen Sister Cities sponsors a soccer exchange with one of its sister cities, Osan, Korea. In order to provide young soccer players with a chance to play overseas, Killeen Osan Sister Cities Sports Chair, Randy Ploeckelmann, coordinates with a local soccer club, Tri-County Flyers, while the President of Killeen Osan Sister Cities, Lisa Humphreys, collaborates with the Osan government to turn soccer dreams into soccer reality. Since Osan teams play in Killeen in even years and Killeen teams play in Osan in odd years, this year was the Tri-County Flyers turn to really fly. On June 8, the Texas team accompanied by Killeen Sister Cities members, boarded a United flight to Korea. The airline flight was just the beginning of a flurry of events: soccer matches, tours, activities, shopping excursions, dinners hosted by the honorable Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Osan, and a week's worth of memories to last a lifetime.
In addition to bringing the soccer team to Korea, Killeen Sister Cities (Osan) also brought six Killeen educational exchange students to stay with Osan host families for three weeks. Six Osan students were hosted in February by families in Killeen, and this trip completed the exchange process with six Killeen students hosted by families in Osan where they learned about Korean culture and experienced Korean high schools.
Before the soccer matches began, both exchange students and soccer players toured Port Pyeong Taek, one of the world’s busiest and economically important ports; the Korean folk village, a replica of ancient Korea with its temples and gardens; and Everland, a Korean amusement park modeled after Disneyland. While students toured, Killeen Sister Cities members visited high schools and met with school officials about future projects. For a dinner hosted by Korean high school officials, KSCI members were taken into the green hills of Osan where they sat in open wooden houses with long low tables. Sitting on embroidered floor mats in the glow of paper lanterns, sampling the delicate cuisine of the area, members savored the fragrance of hillside flowers and the stillness of the surrounding forest. Thus, for soccer players, exchange students, and KSCI members alike, events became moments where dreams became real and Korea became alive. Moreover, watching Killeen and Osan students as they arm-wrestled, sang together in karaoke, or joined in group hugs confirmed to Killeen Sister Cities once again that international exchange projects were about more than soccer and schools; they were about communicating globally, connecting hearts and perpetuating friendships.
High school students interested in Killeen Sister Cities Soccer Exchange or the Educational Student Exchange should contact Lisa Humphreys at 681-7616.