Barnard Students Wow Judges at Language and Culture Competition

Students from Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School triumphed at the 2018 Chinese Bridge Language Proficiency Competition on March 6. The event, held at Pacific Beach Middle School, provided an opportunity for students to express their Chinese proficiency, knowledge, and talents while encouraging their pursuit of learning Chinese language and culture. In the second to third grade division, Barnard students won nine of ten awards, including best speeches and best talents. In the fourth through fifth grade division, Barnard students won five of the top awards, including best speech.

The Chinese Bridge competition provides a platform for Chinese learners from the southwestern region of our country to showcase their Mandarin proficiency and their knowledge of Chinese culture. Barnard students, who are taught in Mandarin for 50 to 80 percent of their day, also receive in-depth instruction in the ancient Chinese arts. This combination of language skills, cultural talents, and passion for performance makes these children well-suited for this competition. At this year’s event, presentations of Mongolian dance, Chinese comedy sketches, dumpling making, calligraphy, hulusi (a Chinese gourd flute), singing, dancing, and more were showcased by Barnard’s talented students.

Third grade student Kayla W. won first place overall in her division. In her speech, she spoke about learning new things from play, like how her dad taught her soccer.

“I practiced a lot!” said Kayla. “My friends and I would practice after school every day, and then I practiced at home before bed every night. It was a little scary on stage at first, but I told myself to smile and enjoy it because I would not be on stage again for another year. I am excited to compete next year!”

Fifth grade student Asha F. won second place overall in her division. Her talent was Chinese tongue twisters, including one that was 44 characters long that used only Z-S-C sounds. She added an additional verse of 14 characters.

“Tongue twisters take advantage of the fact that Chinese is a tonal language,” Asha said, “which makes it difficult and more challenging to do correctly. The language is fun for me.”

With the Mandarin immersion pathway extending through eighth grade at Pacific Beach Middle School and soon to be expanded through 12th grade within the World International Baccalaureate diploma program at Mission Bay High School, the outlook for these students is promising and the possibilities for their success are endless.

The Chinese Bridge competition is hosted by the Education Office, Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles and organized by Confucius Institute at San Diego State University.

For more information on Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School or to find out about the District’s School Choice program, visit