On May 18th, 2013, the UK Confucius Institute held its 2013 Chinese Proficiency Competition for K-12 Students at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky. The competition took place as a part of the Lexington Chinese School’s Culture Fair. More than a dozen Chinese-language students from the Central Kentucky area including Fayette and Woodford counties participated in this competition of linguistic skill and cultural knowledge. Parents, relatives, friends and teachers all came to support and cheer on the competitors.
The competitors were divided into two groups: “Native” and “Non-Native” speakers. Competitors gave a prepared speech, sometimes accompanied by slides or props, and later displayed their talents in singing, swordsmanship, and more for the cultural portion of the competition. In between rounds, the audience members had the opportunity to win UKCI prizes by answering trivia questions about China and Chinese culture.
Japanese-American student Hanae Yoshida, who has been studying Chinese for three years, gave a skilled oratorical performance using standard Chinese. She spoke of her dream to go to China to work in the future. American student Henry Beck, a 4-year student of Chinese, also gave a noteworthy performance in describing his family members to the audience. From physical characteristics to favorite TV show characters to interactions with each other, the competitors spoke on a wide variety of topics, with each one drawing applause and cheers from the audience.
American high school student Bethany Kernell has been learning Chinese for only four months, but she still gave a confident and strong performance against other competitors who have been studying for years. For the talent portion, Bethany used humor in singing the Chinese children’s song “Two Tigers” (“两只老虎”), drawing laughs and big smiles from the audience and judges as well.
Several American-born Chinese students attended the competition as well. Their higher fluency levels were judged at a higher rate due to their Chinese heritage. All of the performers in this category gave rich and vivid presentations and demonstrated superb pronunciation and fluency. It was clear that these students’ parents have worked hard to create home environments that welcome and foster Chinese language skills.
Between the rounds, the competition hosts selected trivia questions to ask the audience. Questions included, “What is the capital of China?”; “Name some animals from the Chinese zodiac,”; “Name three cities in China,” and many more. Audience members enthusiastically participated in this game and many prizes were given away to students and family members alike.
As the judges tallied their scores, the audience watched a short film called “The Chinese Zodiac”, which used beautiful animation to tell the stories of the animals from the Chinese zodiac.
Congratulations to all our prize winners and many thanks to all who participated in this competition, including students, parents, teachers and all those who support learners of Chinese.