Two students taking Upper School Mandarin have had their work included in “Selection of American K-12 Outstanding Chinese Works,” a national publication that recognizes outstanding performance in school Chinese-language programs. The publication comprises work from students studying Mandarin as a second language at the novice, intermediate and advanced levels and includes feedback from the judges who selected each piece.
Maya Agrawal ’24, who takes Honors Mandarin Chinese II, and Lila Wilson ’23, who takes Honors Mandarin Chinese IV, are both students of Yi-Wen Liu. Each shared details about their published work.
“For this assignment, we had to make a presentation and introduce a song in Mandarin. From there we wrote an essay introducing the song and explaining why we liked it,” Maya said. “The good news when writing the essay was that most of the work was already done, since we had done the research when making the presentation. The most challenging part for me was trying to explain why I liked the song in Mandarin! I tried my best with the words I knew, and my teacher helped by teaching me new words that would better fit what I was trying to say.”
“My class was told to write an essay, and we were given a couple of options on what we could write about, as the main idea was to get us to start composing longer and more complex sentences. I chose to write about the benefits of college, what my parents’ college experiences were like, and what I expect my own experience to look like,” Lila said. “The most challenging part of the assignment was trying to break away from the simple grammar structures I’m so used to saying and trying to create more complex sentences; for me, the hardest part of learning a new language is definitely learning new grammar. However, this is still one of my favorite works I’ve done this year. I really like handwriting Chinese characters, and I had a lot of fun writing this essay in a traditional style.”
Both students added that having their work published in a nationwide collection was a validation of the hard work they’ve done in studying Mandarin.
Maya said, “I think it's a good testament to how far I’ve come in two years of learning Mandarin. I originally started taking Mandarin because my father and grandmother know how to speak it. I thought it would be cool if I learned and was able to speak with them in Mandarin. Despite that, my favorite part is definitely reading. I think it’s because I don’t have to worry about mispronouncing something and accidentally saying ‘horse’ instead of ‘mother.’”
“I’m so excited my work is being included in this publication! Mandarin is one of my favorite classes, and even though I’m far from fluent, I’ve put a lot of work into growing and learning over the past few years, and I feel very honored to receive this recognition,” Lila said.