Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mandarin Fest Comes to Beattie

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mandarin Fest Comes to Beattie

Article excerpt

A.W. Beattie Career Center in McCandless celebrated its annual Mandarin Spring Festival with a performance by Meiying Wang, a Kung Fu movie star and professional Wushu athlete from Beijing.

Her appearance Friday was emblematic of the way the Chinese culture has been infused into the school since it began offering Mandarin Chinese in 2007. The class is a yearlong, full-credit course via distance learning over the Live Video Network.

The annual festival, which honors the Chinese women who spend the school year as intern teachers at Beattie, typically features student and teacher presentations from the schools participating in the Mandarin classes. This year's program was different because of North Hills High School senior Will Murray, 18.

For four years, Will has been a Kung Fu student at Win-Win Kung Fu Cultural Center in Squirrel Hill, and for the past two years he's been learning Chinese.

"I wanted to take Chinese so that I could better understand my instructors," he said. He's been learning Chinese from teachers sent here from China through the University of Pittsburgh Confucius Institute, which sponsors the teachers through a partnership with Han Ban and Wuhan University.

Will plans to go to North Carolina State University for nuclear engineering, and his goal is to get a job that will take him to China.

Will's Kung Fu director, Master Hesheng Bao, sponsored the movie star's visit.

This year's festival attracted nearly 200 people, including students and staff from 12 school districts from three counties, according to Sandy Niggel, assistant director for curriculum and instruction.

Beattie serves students from nine school districts, but the Mandarin Chinese program is open to any student from any district. Beattie became the first Pennsylvania career center to achieve Designated Confucius Classroom status in 2011.

Junior Ray Watters, 17, of Avonworth began learning Chinese four years ago by default. …

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