Ping Pong Tournament Only Fraction of Mandarin Club Experiences

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Here at NDA, the Mandarin Club is not just a fun opportunity to learn a foreign language but also a place with exciting events such as the annual ping pong tournament and origami classes.

“It’s a unique activity that brings a little competition and lots of fun,” explained Mrs. Qiuhong Zhang, the Mandarin teacher. “We have many ping pong lovers and good players here at NDA.”

The second year of the ping pong tournament brought in many students from diverse grade levels. Duncan Riedi, a freshman, finished third, Charlie Lemkuil, a senior, took second, and Frank Sun, a junior, won first.

“There are 24 players forming 12 pairs. Then each pair plays three games, the winners move to top 12, then top 6, top three…The tournament is held one week after school.” Zhang said. “Also, we provided practice time two weeks before the tournament.”

“My favorite part of Mandarin Club is probably the people because everyone is so nice,” Jack Lemkuil said. “I joined Mandarin Club because some of my good friends that were in it talked me into joining, and I ended up loving it.”

Lemkuil has been playing ping pong casually for years but doesn’t practice too often. He believes his tennis skills helped him to win second place. “I was just hoping to win one match!” he confessed. “It felt really good to win second place because I didn’t know what to expect going into the tournament.”

“Third place was exciting,” Riedi said. “The other people competing had lots of skill, especially those in first and second place, as well as other foreign exchange students.”

Riedi signed up to play with some encouragement from his sister whom he practices with over the summer. Riedi enjoyed the tournament and plans to return next year.

“Through the tournament, club members have a good chance to get together, chat with one another, learn particular skills that will make them a better player, and cheer for each other,” said Zhang.

The Mandarin Club isn’t limited to only ping pong. The students also participate in activities such as origami time, Chinese cook day, and Chinese New Year celebration.

Elizabeth Scott, a freshman, enjoys the club. “I really thought that origami time was interesting. I liked learning how to fold the paper.”

If you are interested in joining Mandarin Club, check out their website or talk to Mrs. Zhang, who says, “It’s all about fun, appreciation and the joy that comes with learning about the Chinese culture.”