York students dominate the MCTA Chinese Speech Competition


Photo by Langston Gall

Chinese teachers Mrs. Li and Mrs. Chou stand proudly with their students after the results have been announced. April. 21, 2018.

Six Chinese language learning students were selected to compete in the annual MCTA Chinese Speech Contest this past Saturday, April 21, at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois.

York first participated in the contest back in 2008, which marks York’s tenth year competing in the MCTA Chinese Speech contest. Students are typically selected on a first come first serve basis in their level. However, if there are more than two students who want to compete, they enter a random drawing to determine who would represent York in each division.

All of York’s students who competed on Saturday made it into the third division. Freshman Mia Beres and Anna Collins competed in category III-A for level one Chinese. Senior Jenna Gallichio competed in category III-B for level two Chinese. Junior Langston Gall competed in Category III-C for level three Chinese while junior Mollie Grasse competed in category III-D for level four Chinese. Additionally, senior Honey Tey also competed as a heritage student in category III-H.

“This is my first Chinese competition; I never competed in any language competition before, [so] I felt extremely nervous,” said junior Langston Gall, who participated in Category III-C. “I never had to memorize anything in this length before. It’s challenging but it’s also fun.”

Before each competition, students had to write out their speech according to the topic of their respective category. The topic this year is “Chinese & Me”, a question that allow students to explore their interest in the Chinese language deeper. After writing their speech, students often meet with Chinese teachers Mrs. Marie Chou or Mrs. Li Li to prepare in the following weeks up to the competition.

“I think the practices were very effective and necessary because when I practiced at home, no one in my house can speak Chinese, and so no one can catch my errors and help me in ways that Mrs. Chou has,” said Mollie Grasse, junior who will be competing in Category III-D. “She really helped me in creating this speech and pushed to make sure it was memorized and flow well.”

During the competition on Saturday, students were separated into different classrooms where they competed against their peers in the same category. Judges based their evaluation mostly on four criterias: pronunciation and tones, fluency, delivery, as well as content.

“I was really nervous going up at first,” said Mia Beres, after her first round of speech. “I got less nervous and more comfortable as I present my speech in front of the judges. I thought I did well.”

Photo by Honey Tey
After their competition, freshmen Anna Collins and Mia Beres ate lunch with Mrs. Marie Chou as they nervously wait for the results. April. 21, 2018.

The competition ended with every York participant either receiving first or second place in their respective category. Freshman Mia Beres and junior Mollie Grasse placed second out of 35 participants in their levels. Freshman Anna Collins, junior Langston Gall, and Seniors Jenna Gallichio and Honey Tey all won first place.

Photo by Marie Chou
In the heritage group, senior Honey Tey placed first along with four other competitors out of twelve participants. April. 21, 2018.

“I’m really proud of them,” said Mrs. Chou. “I’m glad the hard work they’ve put into these speeches paid off. They really did exceed my expectation.”

Photo by Langston Gall
Chinese teachers Mrs. Li Li and Mrs. Marie Chou stand proudly with their students after the results have been announced. April. 21, 2018.