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UCPS holds first Mandarin Chinese Language summer camp

Camden Corio, 11, at right, works on Chinese letters with instructor Lingyu Liao from Taiwan during a four-day Mandarin Chinese Language summer camp held at Marvin Ridge High School.

Union County Public Schools recently held its first Chinese four-day Mandarin Chinese Language summer camp, an event that organizers hope to make an annual event.

The cost of the June 14-17 camp was $20 per student, and included everything from martial arts to origami. The camp was attended by 72 middle and high school students and was open to not only UCPS students, but home-school students as well.

Event organizer Donna Podgorny, the UCPS second language curriculum coordinator, said the camp was a huge success. “I think the campers experienced a very high quality product. It was a very positive experience. This was a great win for all.”

Each camp day began with songs and skits, which were used as a teaching tool for hearing spoken Mandarin Chinese. Students then went into classes where they learned not only how to say Chinese phrases, but also how to write Chinese letters. They also practiced their numbers by purchasing items with play Chinese currency. Students made videos using pictures of China, during which they had to narrate in Chinese.

“This has been my favorite summer camp so far,” said Sam Horn, 12, a rising seventh-grader at Marvin Ridge Middle School. “My favorite part of the camp is doing the martial arts. I’ve enjoyed the origami (the art of paper folding into objects). It was all-around fun.”

Horn said he came to learn more about the Chinese language and culture. “It is very intriguing,” he said. “I’ve learned how to say ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ in Chinese. I know I’m coming back to this camp next year. I enjoy learning about their culture. You want to know more and more about it. It’s endless. China isn’t all ancient, which is what I thought. There are places in China that are very modern.”

Aris Fulton, 13, a rising eighth grade home-schooled student, said she learned some basic Chinese words and more about the Chinese culture.

“I’ve always been interested in foreign languages,” Aris said. “When I heard about the summer camp, I got very excited because it looked like I would be learning a lot about this language and culture. I would really like to learn Chinese because I’m interested in going to China. It’s so beautiful.”

The summer camp, the brainchild of Marvin Ridge High School assistant principal Marie Brickman, was funded predominantly by a grant provided by the Asia Society’s Confucius Classroom. UCPS is one of 20 Confucius Classrooms across the US.

To see the camp’s blog, go to http://www.yearofthetigercamp.blogspot.com/

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 22, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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