By Theresa Goodwin
Three students from the Sir Novelle Richards Academy (SNRA) have been singled out for their exceptional performance in Mandarin- the official language of the People’s Republic of China.
Last week Hope Lynch, Courtney Browne and Sapphire Percival were recognised and awarded by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Antigua and Barbuda in conjunction with the SNRA and the Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda.
Mandarin is one of the modern languages that has been embedded into the school’s curriculum since its establishment in 2017.
According to authorities at the school, from the onset Lynch’s performance in the Mandarin programme has resulted much success. Lynch wrote Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the HSK Exams and achieved favorable results in the areas.
HSK, known as Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi in Chinese, is an international standardised exam that tests and rates Chinese language proficiency. It assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using the Chinese language in their daily, academic and professional lives and has 6 levels.
The 5th form student, who hopes to visit China one day to become more proficient in the language and culture, won 1st place in the Chinese Bridge Competition held in the summer of 2020 and then proceeded to participate in the Confucius Institute Art Competition where she copped the second position.
She also successfully participated in the Beijing Winter Olympics Painting Competition and the China-Latin American & Caribbean Youth Online Exchange Camp Art Competition and has now attainted the title of Most Improved Mandarin Student of 2021.
Browne, who also has hopes of travelling to China, enrolled in the Mandarin programme right after she joined the educational institution. The 4th former was also successful in her first attempt at writing the HSK Level 1 Exam.
She also participated in the Chinese Bridge Competition and captured the 1st place and also placed 3rd in the Confucius Institute Art Competition in 2020.
Percival, who school authorities describe as “witty and intelligent”, has held the position of the top Mandarin student for the last two years.
Percival, like her other schoolmates, has achieved success in Levels 1 and 3 HSK Exams and has placed in 1st and second place in different competition organised by the Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda.
Principal of the school Listine Simon Bradshaw said the students at the education institution, from 1st to 5th form, have responded overwhelming to the programme and continued to perform at their best.
She said the modern language programme is a core component of the school’s culture and they are of the strong belief that these programmes expose children to opportunities in their personal and professional lives.
Kurtice Williams Thomas teaches the subject at all levels while additional support is provided by the Confucius Institute which has been partnering with the school since its inception.
Thomas said most of her students are at level four in terms of their level of competency and the goal is to get them to level 6.
Level 4 competency means students can easily communicate in Chinese and speak fluently with others.
At level 6, students should be able to express themselves freely both orally and written form in Chinese.
Success in the different levels of the HSK exams means the students will be exempted from obligatory language courses if they decide to pursue studies in China at some point.