Rice Elementary Students Mark Holidays in Mandarin

7:46 AM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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One initiative in the Macon Miracle strategic plan that drew some fire from the community earlier this year aims to teach Mandarin to every student over the next five years.

The plan was implemented in August, and has since made national news. But it for the first time Tuesday night, the community got a glimpse into how the program is working.

About 30 students from pre-K through third grade at Jessie Rice elementary school sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" in Mandarin Chinese under direction from their teacher, Kun Zhang.

The performance was part of the school's annual poetry reading and book fair at Barnes and Noble at the Shoppes at River Crossing.

They performed before proud family members like Marilyn Thompkins, who says she really got on board with the Mandarin program after seeing how well her 5-year-old grandson took to the language in school.

"Once you see something in action it kind of makes sense to you," said Thompkins.

Rice Elementary principal Iwanda Dickey said the Mandarin program enjoys wide spread support from parents.

"One of my parents talked about how she's now singing in Chinese," said Dickey. "My parents have been so excited about the program."

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