Tritons Shine at Mandarin Contest in Milwaukee

Nathaniel Smith, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Mandarin is one of the many languages offered a Notre Dame, and students in the class compete in a speaking and writing contest each year.  

For the past couple of years a Notre Dame student, senior Sam Frantz, has been going to the contest that is held at UW-Milwaukee.  Sam started studying Mandarin back in fifth grade for two main reasons. He finds the Chinese culture to be “incredibly interesting and it is also one of the oldest cultures throughout the world.”  Learning the language, he said, would be a perfect way to learn and understand more of their culture.

The second reason Frantz is so interested in learning Mandarin is that China is growing bigger and bigger each day and becoming more relevant throughout the world culturally, commercially, and economically.

“Understanding the language and culture is becoming increasingly valuable,” said Sam.

For the contest, participants are divided into groups based on how long they have been taking Mandarin.  Another factor is if they speak it at home with family members.

The competitors each need a speech, poem or a similar piece that is normally memorized. They present to judges who give them a score on their performance.

Sam got first place last year at the competition.  He competed at the highest level possible for a high school student.  This year he was able to compete, but he didn’t want to because it conflicted with prom.  

This year at the competition Anna Zimmerman, Ava Griffitt, Josey McClain and Alexa Vande Corput performed an original Chinese song, a Chinese dance and Taiji at both the beginning and ending ceremonies.  Taiji, part of ancient Chinese culture, is a philosophy of the natural world.

At the competition honorable mentions were given to Maxwell McLean, Sofia Algas, Chloe Forbes and JunHyeok Cha.  

James Fitzwater and Belle Mae Williams got 3rd place.

Sarah Petroll and Josey McClain got 2nd place.

First place was awarded to Alan Schneider this year.