Wayzata’s Confucius Classroom

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Wayzata’s Confucius Classroom

Sara Pauly, Staff Writer

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The Wayzata Chinese Program has been named a Confucius Classroom by the Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota and honored in a ceremony September 27.

As of 2015, only 14 Confucius Classrooms existed in the state of Minnesota. “It is a huge honor for the program. I know that Ms. Heng put in a lot of time and energy to meet this goal,” said Chinese club officer Amy Zhang.

The Confucius Institute determines whether a school’s program can be a Confucius Classroom based on the amount of school and district support, potential to grow from cultural experiences, and potential to beneficially use funds.“We definitely get support from the Confucius Institute at the U of M for professional development,” said Heng.“It provides opportunities for me to attend more workshops and conferences and to be able to collaborate with other Chinese teachers throughout the nation. It opens the doors for our students to connect with the students in China,” said Heng.

The Wayzata Chinese program will have the opportunity to find a sister school in China and take a trip to visit them, potentially during spring break or early summer. According to Heng, the trip to China already taken by students over spring break will continue until a sister school is found. “There is an opportunity for us to have more guest speakers like artists and musicians at school in our classes which brings more authentic Chinese culture to our students.”

According to Heng, Wayzata’s Chinese club will also benefit from funds and be able to buy cultural games and costumes along with authentic Chinese food. “I think the Confucius Institute will help bring in more kids and make an already great program better. As for Chinese club, I think it will hopefully spark kids’ interests more in Chinese culture so they’re more inclined to come and join the club,” said Chinese club officer Ellie Ronning.

A ceremony with student and guest performances was held in the Wayzata High School auditorium on September 27th to celebrate the honor. The ceremony consisted of various cultural performances from the community and Wayzata High School students. About 400 people attended the ceremony.

The night started with a traditional lion dance, accompanied by kids playing drums in the background.
This was followed by speeches from Heng, Superintendent Chace Anderson and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Shelly Nelson. “This is particularly gratifying in knowing that schools are selected based on the potential to grow their program and a where a culture is believed to exist that will support the growth,” said Anderson. “We are fortunate to have a community where great value is placed on intercultural learning; particularly in the area of language instruction,” Anderson continued.
Students performed as well. Chinese 1 students performed martial arts while Chinese 2 sang a well-known song titled Peng You. Chinese 4 recited a poem completely in Chinese.

To wrap up the performances all the Chinese students sang the song Guo Jia by Jackie Chan.
Chinese four student Frederic Lin said, “for people of Chinese culture the performances were like a home away from home and for people of other cultures it was a complete immersion.”
“It was really neat to see the acts put on by the students and the other performers, getting a view into a culture that’s very different from our own. It’s important for people to learn about other cultures to broaden understanding of the world we all are a part of,” said senior Olivia Olson.

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