Washington Association for American and Chinese Education

华盛顿美中教育协会

2016 Why Learn Chinese Competition

Awards Ceremony

 2016 Why Learn Chinese Competition

President Obama, during China’s President Xi Jinping's first visit to Washington, announced a sweeping nationwide initiative to see 1 million American students studying Mandarin Chinese by 2020. Inspired by President Obama’s "1 million strong" initiative, the Washington Association for American and Chinese Education (WAACE), one of the largest student-run non-profit organizations in Washington State, successfully organized its 2016 Why Learn Chinese Competition (WLC competition), holding an award ceremony on October 23, 2016 at Skyline High School, one of the very first Confucius Classrooms in the network overseen by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.

Encouraged by President Xi Jiping’s Chinese dream and his visit to Washington State last September, WAACE decided this year’s prompt to be “When the American Dream Meets the Chinese Dream...” for 6-12th graders. To help distinguish this year’s competition from previous ones, WAACE expanded the competition to include elementary school students, encouraging younger students to experience the Chinese language and culture. The prompt for Grades K-5th this year was "A Famous Chinese Person Who Has Influenced You".  WAACE was able to unite K-12 students through essays, poems, and video submissions regarding prompts. Co-sponsored by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, WAACE’s Why Learn Chinese Competition has succeeded in bringing together the community, and promoting Chinese cultural awareness in youth.

WAACE received an overwhelming number of submissions from applicants all across the state, with each applicant bringing unique ideas and creative answers to the prompts. WAACE’s panel of judges had a difficult time picking the best entries from all the amazing submissions, and were extremely impressed by the creativity and passion for Chinese learning and culture demonstrated by the participating students. It was truly encouraging to know that there are so many globally-conscious students in Washington State who are already eagerly immersing themselves in Chinese and promoting this critical language in their communities. The grand-prize winner’s essay will be recognized by WAACE and sent to the White House after the 2016 presidential election to allow the voice of the youth be heard by the president of the United States, helping build a positive relationship between the U.S. and China.

WAACE and its WLC competition have received tremendous support from both the U.S. and China. During President Xi’s visit to Washington State, WAACE board members crafted a pencil portrait of the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the first lady, Professor Peng Liyuan, as a welcoming gift for their visit. Consul General Luo Linquan returned the appreciation and encouragement expressed by President Xi and the first lady. WAACE’s mission and its WLC competition have also been recognized by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, who said: “Thank you for your efforts to strengthen relations between the U.S. and China. I applaud your initiative and wish you the best with your competition and other ongoing activities.” Lt. Governor Brad Owen, Sammamish Mayor Don Gerend, Education Consul of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco Jun Yang, Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa, Chinese directors Wenqiu Wang and Jun Zhou of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, Issaquah School District Superintendent Ron Thiele, and leaders of local organizations attended the WLC award ceremony to present awards to winners, celebrating the students’ achievement in learning Chinese language and culture. Mayor Don Gerend, also presented a proclamation to WAACE for its outstanding contribution to the community.