Chinese Club Expands to Lower School Division>

Upper School Chinese students teach Lower School girls language and culture

Up until recently, learning Chinese at Hockaday used to be exclusively available and taught to Upper School students. But the Chinese language is slowly seeping down into Middle School and even Lower School.

“The Chinese Club is on the move with an ambitious slate of programs that will bring Chinese language and culture throughout Pre-kindergarten to 12th grade,” Upper School Chinese teacher Dr. Justin Rudelson said.

The Chinese Club created subdivisions within the club so that each sub-club can focus more easily on its specific area, which are all related to some aspect of Chinese culture. The “mini-clubs” include Chinese Corner, Storytelling Club, Taichi Club and Asian Pop-culture Club.

Chinese Corner is one of the primary branches of the club. It is dedicated to spreading an appreciation for Chinese culture throughout the entire school and even outside of the school. As a component of Chinese Corner, Upper School students will teach lessons about Chinese culture and language to Lower and Middle School students.

Upper School students are bringing fun and play to the Middle School students by putting on Chinese Cultural events on Graduation Terrace during conference and teaching short Chinese classes in the Lower School.

Chinese boarder students tutor Middle School Chinese language students using a program bearing the nickname “Pop-in Chinese.” They kicked off the Pop-in Chinese program by putting on a Mid-Autumn festival for Lower School and Middle School students on Graduation Terrace during conference period on Monday, Oct. 8, when the full moon was closest to Earth.

“Around 400-500 students came to Graduation Terrace to play ping pong, badminton, hear Chinese storytelling, receive Chinese names, learn Chinese yo-yo and learn Taichi. It was awesome,” Rudelson said.

The Chinese Club is also doing community service projects. In the past, Chinese Club has worked with a Taipeinese organization called Love Life, which raises awareness about depression around the world and reminds people to love and value their lives. 

Love Life is a foundation in Taiwan that focuses on children with terminal bone cancer; it’s main focus is to lift people out of depression and sadness. The Chinese Club will soon be working with the kids at TR Hoover as community service outreach to teach the children there Chinese language and culture as a part of the Love Life project.

Sophomore Chinese Club Secretary Anne-Marie said the Chinese Club “hopes to more actively work for and promote the philosophy of Love Life. I’m really glad we’re expanding into the community this year.”

The Chinese Club hopes to spread a love for China throughout the Hockaday community.

“Hockaday does a great job of educating students about different cultures.” Senior Maddie, President of the Chinese Club, said. “Experiences in Lower School can really affect [children’s] passions and outlook on life. It is important to introduce new cultures and foster an awareness of international unity in children from a very young age.”