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Five bring home medals for Thomas

March 10, 2016


Arlington Heights, IL – Five students, representing Thomas Middle School and District 25, stormed into Northside College Prep in Chicago last Saturday, delivered speeches and walked out with five medals, three of them gold.

This, however, wasn’t the typical speech competition. These speeches were delivered in Mandarin Chinese.

Annually, the MCTA (Midwest Chinese Teachers Alliance) puts on a Chinese Speech Contest for all students in the Chicagoland area, kindergarten through high school, to show off their skills in speaking Mandarin Chinese.

“The most important thing is that we promote the Chinese language and the importance of learning it,” President of the MCTA and Thomas Middle School Mandarin teacher Brenda Hsu said. “Students are able to show off their skills on a bigger stage, once a year, and be recognized for their work in the classroom.”

So, last Saturday morning, that’s what students currently enrolled in a Chinese program taught by an MCTA member, did. They wrote, practiced and delivered speeches, entirely in Chinese Mandarin, with no help from a power point, notes or printed materials.

The range of skill level and age under one roof was inspiring, as the energy did not purely stem from competition. Students, teachers and observers were there in support of the Chinese Mandarin language and the growth of students.

“The MCTA puts on workshops for teachers and student competitions as a celebration of the language,” Hsu said.

Students who qualified to attend this contest were placed into a group based on grade level and classroom experience with the language.

Students were judged using a rubric containing four different categories, each with a different level of importance. Pronunciation and tones was the most important, capturing 40% of the final score. Delivery and fluency each owned 25% of the total and content was judged with 10% of importance.

Contestants with a score of 90% and above took home the gold award. A score of 80-89% earned a student a silver medal and a student score of 70-79% was honored with a bronze. All contestants did receive a certificate and the students who scored 69% and below received an honorable mention certificate.


Thomas Middle School Award Winners:

Gold Medal: Rachel Sowa (2B), Clara Menninga (2A), Lucas Van Gelderen (2A)

Bronze Medal: Amelie Smithson (2A), Martin Waz (2A)

**”2” refers to the middle school group and “A/B” refers to having less than two years or more than two years experience in Chinese Mandarin respectively.**


Cultural Exchange

Next week, Brenda Hsu and Thomas Assistant Principal Jerome Green, will chaperone thirteen students and twelve parents to China. This is yet another highlight of the hands on, cultural exchange opportunities District 25 is excited to facilitate and provide to its community.

Adam Harris