ISDenver Students and Alum Winners in Confucius Institute Contest
Two International School of Denver Students and one alum were awarded honors at the Confucius Institute’s Chinese Language Contest on Saturday, March 7.
Three-year-old ISDenver student Liv Boroujerdi wowed the crowd with her “perfect Mandarin." Liv was awarded second place. She is the youngest student to have ever participated in the contest.
According to a March article in the national publication of the Chinese School Association in the United States (translation from Mandarin to English):
One of the highlights and exciting moments from the Chinese Language Competition by Confucius Institute is when a 3-year-old American girl from the International School of Denver took to the stage.
Because Liv Boroujerdi is so young and small, the judges weren't even sure if she could perform on the stage. But once she started to speak in Mandarin. She WOWed the crowd. All of the judges thought... this girl speaks "perfect" Mandarin and she's only learned this language for seven months. At the end of the performance, she asked in Chinese if everyone enjoyed her speech. The entire room said YES and applauded in amazement. Liv took second place in the elementary group.
Liv’s teachers at ISDenver, Ou Bai (YoYo) and Christine Gillette, worked with her on the speech. Liv memorized her entire speech, “My Family and I,” which was all about her family and what she does during the day. YoYo and Chris attended the competition to lend their support, and as YoYo explained, “We were so nervous for her, but she was absolutely perfect! She’s so tiny, even at the lowest level the microphone was a little too tall for her.”
YoYo said she wants people to know our school and to know just how good our program really is. As YoYo pointed out, Liv is not a native Chinese speaker--in fact, she has only been here at ISDenver for the past seven months learning Chinese. “Her tone is amazing,” said YoYo and Chris. “She really has a natural gift, and her poise and memorization were just amazing.” YoYo also said that after most of the speeches, the audience was quiet and waiting for the next contestant, but after Liv was finished everyone burst into applause.
Liv’s parents, Sybil and Majid, consider Chinese the hardest language to learn and decided to give it a try for their daughter. “She has a great teacher,” says her
mother. Liv ‘earned’ her first paycheck, too: she will be able to put her $75 prize in the bank!”
Carter (ISDenver class of 2019) and Liam (6th grade) Ware also took home first and second place awards from this year’s contest. The article goes on to say (translation from Mandarin to English):
The younger son (Wen Tian) took second place in the middle school group competition. His older brother took first place in the high school competition. The judges were really impressed with how confident they each were on the stage. The older brother was talking about Chinese Characters. His dream is to become a Chinese Television Broadcaster.
ISDenver Middle School Chinese Faculty member Jie Lu said it was no coincidence Carter and Liam were awarded prizes at the contest. “In their daily study of Chinese, both in class and after school, Liam and Carter are full of motivation, hard work, and perseverance. Their genuine love of the Chinese culture and language, coupled with repeated practice in an immersion environment has produced a solid vocabulary, grammatical understanding, pronunciation of phonemes, as well as vocal expression and essential non-verbal communication skills.”
Carter and Liam Ware’s mom, Wendy Ware, observed, “The ISDenver experience is superior to any other education out there- all in positive ways. It has not only taught my sons fluency and literacy in Chinese, but it has prepared them for other life challenges, like this speech contest. They are both very confident in their knowledge and skills and are unafraid to take on challenges like public speaking. It showed in their preparation for the contest by writing their own speeches (when most kids recited other works), it showed in their confident presentation styles, and it showed in the results. During the event, it was obvious ISDenver had also taught them to be very gracious, kind and tolerant individuals. We are very proud of them and in our decision to send them to ISDenver from preschool to grade 8!
Liam decided to do a comedy speech and enjoyed making the audience laugh. He noted that most contestants recited something someone else had written, while he wrote and performed an original piece. Carter described the competition as, “awesome.” “Lots of competition and a lot of native speakers with a whole lifetime of experience. I have ten years of Chinese and was very proud to be the grand prize winner!” Carter went on to say, “I love and miss ISD almost every day. It was such a great place to grow up and gave me the gift of Chinese language and culture that I am excited to use my whole life!”
Congratulations to Liv, Carter, and Liam!
The Confucius Institute at Community College of Denver (CICCD) is one of more than 500 centers worldwide of Chinese language and cultural learning. Established in 2007 with the support of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), the CCD Confucius Institute is the only center in the world to be housed at a community college and focuses on promoting Chinese language training and intercultural understanding.
Fourteen of our MYP students were able to attend the STAMP virtual learning conference, run and organized by High School leaders from across the area. STAMP is also part of a bigger network of diversity and inclusion, CIRCLE (Connecting Inclusive, Responsive Communities Leading Education). G4-G8 Counselor Annie Barocas provides an enlightening synopsis of the conference and our students experiences.
Isabelle Valot, now age 17, who grew up in Denver before moving to France with her family, started school here at ISDenver in the French program when she was four years old. Her first teacher was current K3 French teacher Dominique Shortridge, who is still very close to the family.
ISDenver's virtual after-school Mentor Club is thriving and providing many benefits for all its members - including language immersion to students who are staying home from school and doing long-term Livestream Learning.