Ni Hao School at CLC Teaches Students Language, Culture of China

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracy Yoshida Gruen Daily Herald Correspondent

School officials and parents of students at the Xilin Lake County Chinese School feel that learning Chinese is becoming more and more important in today's business world.

Every Sunday, children in grades kindergarten through high school learn the Chinese language and culture at the school at the College of Lake County in Grayslake.

About 100 students, including a few from Wisconsin, attend the classes that have been provided by the school since 1995.

Most of the students are of Chinese descent, but about 10 percent are Caucasian students.

"We'd really like more American students to enroll in our school," said Jinhua Chen, who has been the principal of the school for the past three years. "In the last few years the interaction between China and America has become more and more important, especially in business."

When the school first started, mostly students of Chinese descent attended classes, said Chen Zhao, one of the school's first board members and a parent of a student and a graduate at the school. Lately, she said there has been an increase in the number of non-Chinese students.

Chen said it is sometimes difficult to do well in business school if you are unable to speak Chinese.

Personally, both Chen and Vice Principal Wei Li said they got involved in the school because they wanted to contribute to the community by volunteering for something they believed in.

The school offers Chinese language classes, drawing classes, SAT classes, language art classes, and also bilingual Chinese language classes to meet the increasing demand of the English speakers.

For many parents, it is very important for their kids to learn the language and culture of China.

"When I was a little girl back in China I had a dream that some day I could come to the United States of America," said Rose Burba, who also serves on the school board. …