Senior Anthony Edwards places first in Ohio Chinese Speech Contest

by Matt Koehler ’15

In its first year as a program, the Mandarin Chinese I class has produced a first place champion in the annual Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech Contest. The contest, held by the Confucius Institute at Cleveland State University, contained different pools depending on age. Anthony Edwards ’15 came in first place in the high school division. Competing against students who had been studying the language for over four years, Edwards has only been taking the class since this past August.

According to Edwards, it was his teacher, Mrs. Qiuhui Li, who saw how willing he was to improve and test his Chinese speaking skills, which prompted him to write a proficient speech. “She helped me practice every day for three weeks during a shared free period,” Edwards said.

“In language teaching, we distinguish student’s language proficiency from his or her performance. Anthony’s proficiency level may not be that high yet, but for this five-minute speech, he has been working diligently, preparing and practicing everyday for three weeks,” Li said.

Edwards continued to memorize his speech by reciting it many times a day during Easter Break. “While that sounds difficult and tedious, I really do love it, so it truly became a labor of love,” Edwards said.[pullquote]

I really do love it, so it truly became a labor of love.


Edwards has always been interested in Eastern cultures and speaking Chinese. “I hope to travel more in my life and definitely make use of language to facilitate travel and cultural learning,” he said.

At the competition, Edwards stood in front of a panel of judges, his competitors, and a full audience to deliver a memorized speech completely in Chinese. Following the speech, Edwards, still speaking in Chinese, was prompted to answer a series of questions that could not contradict what was said in his speech, proving he had a comprehensive understanding of the language.

As a teacher, Li couldn’t be more proud. “In Chinese, there is a saying, ‘Every minute on stage takes ten years of hard work off stage.’ I think the attitude Anthony has demonstrated as a language student deserves the First Place for sure!” Li said.