This, below, was sent to us today from one of our readers. It is just another testament to how Americans are taking the opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese as a nod to deepening cultural and business relations with their largest business partner: China. Expect to see more small towns like Hartsville South Carolina on the road to learn Mandarin Chinese in the future:
Finding Chinese restaurants in a small US town may be common, but Mandarin Chinese language classes are rare. TEACH Foundation (Teaching, Educating, and Advancing Children Hartsville) has brought Mandarin Chinese in a bold way to Hartsville, SC. Hartsville is a picturesque town of less than 10,000 people. A secret weapon of the small town is the Global Headquarters of Sonoco (SON), a global provider of packaging products and services.
Sonoco developed a partnership with its local school district, Darlington County, the Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, and Coker College to create a multifaceted program called PULSE (Partners for Unparalleled Local Scholastic Excellence) to increase academic performance and provide learning opportunities that may not have ever become available.
The TEACH Foundation is the administrator of the $5 million dollar grant from Sonoco for the PULSE program. The program begin in August 2011. Mandarin Chinese was one of the two courses offered for the Fall term. Dr. Li is a native of Beijing with a Ph.D. from Capital Normal University in Beijing. She has many years of experience teaching Mandarin and Chinese Culture. She moved from New York to Hartsville to head up the Chinese language program at Coker College. She has worked feverishly to prove that Mandarin Chinese could find interest in the small town.
On April 12 in Davidson Hall at Coker College, Dr. Li had her chance to showcase her impressive teaching ability along with her impressive new Mandarin students. It is easy to suspect that many community members would be eager to see the results of this innovative program. It is safe to say that the community was not disappointed. Fifteen students performed songs and skits in Mandarin.
The Hartsville High School students performed Liang zi Lao Hu, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Amazing Grace. The Coker College students performed an impressive skit about college romance that brought a roar of laughter from the audience. The Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics students preformed a skit about students in Beijing during the Olypmics. The closing song was theme song from the Beijing Olympics, You and Me.
It is exciting to see Mandarin in unexpected places and engaging students that may have never had the opportunity to learn such a beautiful language. The PULSE program has started off in a big way and hope many more students will develop a passion for Mandarin.
For more information about the PULSE program, visit http://www.teachfoundation.org/.
Also, read the recent news article for more details.