UCPS children 'Discover China' in daylong event

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 05:18 PM

About 240 Union County Public Schools, elementary, middle and high school students have a much better idea about the Chinese culture and traditions after attending the fourth annual Discover China, held this year Thursday, (Feb. 21, 2013) at Marvin Ridge Middle School.

Students came from Marvin Elementary, Parkwood Middle, and Cuthbertson, Marvin Ridge, and Weddington middle and high schools. “The purpose of this event is to bring awareness of China to our community,” said the event coordinator Donna Podgorny, UCPS K-12 World Language Curriculum Coordinator. “The students have been very respectful and very interested.”

“I’ve never really experienced the Chinese culture,” said Matthew Alexander, 14, an eighth grader at Parkwood Middle School. “It’s very different from our culture. The characters, for example, have no relevance to us. It’s very interesting to find out how the world is different. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The presenters for the event are from the Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University. “I think we’re very fortunate to have the Confucius Institute in town. If we had to pull these presentations together, we wouldn’t have that sense of cultural exchange.”

Zhou Yang and Xiaoxiao Ma taught a calligraphy class. Students learned that Chinese calligraphy has evolved over the last 5,000 years and is the world’s longest surviving writing system. Students were able to watch a demonstration and then try their own hand at writing calligraphy, using Chinese brushes and ink.

“We’ve tried to incorporate a little of the Chinese language to try and get them used to sounds and what the characters look like,” Podgorny said.

See china/ page A11

Yi Yin and Lin Zhu taught the ancient Chinese art of paper cutting, which is used as windows decorations, for celebrations like weddings and for various patterns used on cloth.

Chunan Li spoke with students about business etiquette in China, while Huiqing Yang and Jing Yan taught a session on Chinese banquets, which dealt with the etiquette of eating at a Chinese table. Students also learned how to make a traditional Chinese dumpling filled with cabbage, ground chicken, soybean and shallots.

Podgorny said she was very pleased with the event. “It’s exciting to plant some seeds with these students. Hopefully they will become our future ambassadors. I hope we’ve opened some minds of students who may now think, ‘Maybe I could do business in China.’ ‘Maybe I would like to study Chinese’.”

 Funding for the event came from a grant from the Confucius Classroom Network of the Asia Society.

 

• This article was written by Deb Coates Bledsoe, Union County Public Schools Communications Coordinator and provided courtesy of the UCPS Communications Office.