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College of Arts & Sciences
Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute at USC Organized the Tenth South Carolina "Palmetto Chinese Star" Competition

Hosted by the Confucius Institute at University of South Carolina (CI at USC) and co-sponsored by the CI at Presbyterian College, the tenth South Carolina "Palmetto Chinese Star" competition was held at USC on February 23.

Hosted by the Confucius Institute at University of South Carolina (CI at USC) and co-sponsored by the CI at Presbyterian College, the tenth South Carolina "Palmetto Chinese Star" competition was held at USC on February 23. The competition attracted thirty-one contestants from ten schools including USC, Presbyterian College, Wafford College, Bob Jones University, East Point Academy, Hartsville High School, Midlands Stem Institute, Laurens District 55 High School, Clinton Middle School and Chinese school of South Columbia.

The competition rules are, for the first time ever, innovated and reformed. Contestants are put into three competition groups by age and grade: University group, middle school group and elementary school group and each contestant is supposed to display Chinese language proficiency and Chinese culture-related talents. A question and answer session with regard to general knowledge on China and Chinese culture is added for the university group. 

The competition started at noon and ended around at 7 p.m. Contestants displayed excellent Chinese proficiency in various forms such as speech delivering, storytelling, tongue twister, poetry recitation, short sketches and even SanGouBan, a unique Chinese talking show. Each contestant conveyed his or her understanding and love for Chinese culture to audience through the performance of Chinese folk dances, instrumental music, songs, calligraphy, Kungfu, violin or other artistic performance as well. 

Competitors’ wonderful performances left a deep impression on the audience and judges. Jadon Page, a contestant in elementary school group from East Point Academy, told a famous Chinese idiom story, “Waiting for a Rabbit". Had you not witnessed her perfect Chinese, you would hardly have heard that such standard Chinese was out of an American little child’s mouth. Susan Bell, a five-and-a-half-year-old girl from Midlands Stem Institute, told the story of "The Hungry Caterpillar". Her lovely innocent expression, the voice of milk, and the vivid narration made the audience's hearts germinate. Jackson Benjamin from USC shared with us the story of his bus-taking experience during his short stay in Xi'an last summer. He found that the Chinese phrase "take a bus by sitting" taught by his Chinese teacher was completely different from the situation he encountered while he was taking a bus in China. On a busy Chinese bus, many people including himself, often do not "take a bus by sitting, but "by standing", and he thought “take a bus by standing” should be the proper Chinese phrase. He said what he saw on a bus in China was people were in good order and young people gave up their seats to the elderly or children despite being packed like sardines on a busy bus. In his mind, Chinese and Americans have the same way to convey love and care for others. Hearing this, the audience burst into thunderous applauses. 

After fierce competition, Willa Zug from Chinese School of South Columbia, Saba Pontens-Alemu from East Point Academy and Jackson Benjamin from USC won the championship of elementary school group, middle school group and University groups respectively, and seized the "Star of Chinese in South Carolina" trophies eventually. 

After the competition, praises from teachers, participants and parents of participating schools were heard for the well-organized Chinese event. Mr. Mark Bond, Principal of East Point Academy and Ms. Junlan Li, the Vice-Principal of East Point Academy extended their thanks to CI at USC for creating such a valuable opportunity for students to show themselves and were proud of the achievements their students got. Many school officials expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the meticulous organization of the competition and the opportunities created for students to show their Chinese proficiency. Some parents even told us the little competitors were unwilling to part with each other when the competition was over and still savoring the beautiful moment of the “language feast”. 

The "South Carolina Chinese Star" contest attracted a large number of Chinese learners from South Carolina. The contestants fully demonstrated their Chinese language ability and Chinese talent through this contest.