MINNEAPOLIS (May 5, 2011) – Three students from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Asian Languages and Literatures (ALL) won first prizes at the second College Student Chinese Speech Contest of the Midwest Area on April 23 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
Forty contestants from 10 universities participated in the contest.
Peter Wagner, a post-secondary education student from Sandstone, Minn., won the only first prize for level one students; Anthony Dodge and Heather Kaus won the only first prizes for level two.
Kaus is a communication studies major and Chinese minor from Northeast Minneapolis. Dodge is a native of Shoreview, Minn., and is an accounting and finance major, Chinese minor.
Contestants were required to give a prepared three minute speech in Chinese, followed by a cultural presentation such as a Chinese song, dance, painting, calligraphy, paper cut, puppet show, martial arts or musical performance. For example, Kaus spoke about her experiences studying in China, and then gave a realistic imitation of the Beijing Opera piece “Hong Niang.”
Wagner performed Chinese-style unicycling and juggling, while Dodge performed a traditional work, “The Butterfly Lovers,” on cello.
Hong Wei, director of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University, sent a letter of congratulations, saying “Your students made a foremost impression on each of us, with their extraordinary speech and performance talents.”
Kaus was also selected to participate in the 10th Chinese Bridge competition in Changsha, China, in August, where she will face winners from other regional competitions held around the world this spring.
The students were coached by many members of the U of M’s Chinese language program, led by instructor Ling Wang. This is not the first time U of M students have swept this competition; at the first event, in 2007, U of M students won five first prizes. Their trip this year was sponsored by ALL and the university’s Confucius Institute.