Students Compete in Milwaukee, Mrs. Zhang Honored as Chinese Teacher of the Year

Gioia Cumcek, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Last weekend 18 students from Notre Dame participated in a Chinese language competition in Milwaukee and shrieked with excitement when their own teacher, Mrs. Qiuhong Zhang, was announced as the Chinese Language Teacher of the Year.

The students were accompanied by Zhang and theology teacher Mrs. Jane Hall.

Mrs. Hall attends eighth-hour Chinese III. Last semester she attended Chinese IV as which class to attend depends on her schedule, her prep period.

“I am so very proud of the effort and determination our students put forth. NDA has such brave and talented young people,” said Hall.

The students that participated in the contest are Kate Van Den Heuvel, Elise Lin, Jenne Ai, Sarah Petroll, Sofia Algas, JunHyeok Cha, Madeline Darling, Adam Vogel, Maxwell Gatewood, Olivia Lin, Emily Lin, Belle Mae Williams, Maxwell McLean, Alan Schneider and Kai Assef. These students participated in the speaking part of the competition.

The following students did not do the speaking part of the competition but still took part at the event.  Zhongqianhui Guan performed on the erhu, a Chinese musical instrument. at the closing ceremony, Yunmei Zhang sang for the opening ceremony and Xinwen Liang danced and was an MC.

For the competition, students write their own speeches in Chinese and present them in front of the judges. In January Mrs. Zhang asked students if they would like to participate in the event. Those who said yes were told to compose a speech in Chinese.

Students individually met with her to modify, practice and rehearse their pieces. Once it became closer to the competition students gave their speeches in front of the class in order to prepare them for what was to come.

“One vital element in building stronger relationships is to learn how to better communicate with others.  Learning another language is one way of saying…I find you important and valuable,” said Hall.

NDA students did very well in this event. Kate Van De Heuvel, Belle Mae Williams, Jennifer Ai and Maxwell McLean received first place. Alan Schneider and Emily Lin received second place. JunHyeok Cha, Olivia Lin, Adam Vogel and Sarah Petroll received third place.

Along with these student awards, Mrs. Zhang was recognized as teacher of the year.

“I am humbled to receive this recognition. I feel proud and happy,” said Zhang.

“She is fascinating. How awesome is it to learn about a culture, a people, a language from someone who grew up in that culture.  She is authentic, genuine and highly driven. She has taught me to be a better teacher, by allowing me to be a student,” said Hall.