Students receive awards at Chinese language speech contest

March 7, 2014
Chinese Language Speech Contest

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Two students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville received awards for the “Non-Heritage University Beginner” level at the Wisconsin 2014 Annual Chinese Language Speech Contest held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Feb. 22.

The contest, now in its 11th year, welcomes students from kindergarten level to college level, from beginners to heritage/native speakers. Participants may deliver speeches, recitations or tell stories. The purpose of the contest is to give students who are learning the Mandarin language a new educational experience and help boost their confidence in their ability to speak the language.

Andrew Hayes, a senior chemistry major from Kenosha, Wis. and a student worker for the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute, received a bronze medal from the Wisconsin Association of Chinese Language Teachers. His speech was a self-introduction spoken in Mandarin.

“Attending the Wisconsin 2014 Annual Chinese Language Speech Contest for the first time since I began studying Chinese was an awesome and eye-opening experience,” said Hayes. “It was a great opportunity to showcase my progress in learning Chinese and an even better opportunity to practice speaking Chinese.”

Brittany Ambers, a senior business administration major from Milwaukee, Wis., received an Honorable Mention award. Like Hayes, Ambers gave a self-introduction spoken in Mandarin.

“I loved the speech contest,” said Ambers. “It allowed me to see other American people speak Chinese on different levels. It also gave me a chance to speak the Chinese that I had learned in front of people for the first time. I was nervous, but I enjoyed the experience.”

Both Hayes and Ambers are enrolled in Chinese language courses offered through the university’s foreign languages program.

Eileen Wu, Chinese instructor for UW-Platteville’s Confucius Institute and foreign language program, and Kathy Zhang, Chinese instructor for the Confucius Institute, attended the event. Both are associate professors from South-Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, China. The elementary Chinese language courses they teach are designed as an educational outlet for individuals unfamiliar with Chinese culture and language.

During the opening ceremony, English education graduate students from SCUN who are currently studying at UW-Platteville entertained the crowd with folk songs and dances representing their native backgrounds. The Confucius Institute donated door prizes and books.

UW-Platteville’s Confucius Institute, established in 2008, offers many resources to UW-Platteville students, faculty and staff as well as Southwest Wisconsin communities, including opportunities to learn about and experience Chinese language and culture. The institute, the only one in Wisconsin, is part of an international network of more than 1,060 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms. It is a collaborative project among UW-Platteville, the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and SCUN. The institute is dedicated to enhancing the understanding of the Chinese language and culture around the world.

For more information and to register for events, visit the Confucius Institute online at or call (888) 281-9471 (toll free). For program information, contact the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute at (608) 342-1310 or

Contact/Written By: Tricia Reuter, Confucius Institute, (608) 342-1310,

Formatted by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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