Upper Canada College boarding students placed first and second at the “Panda Cup” Chinese Speech Contest held by the Chinese Consulate-General in Toronto and the Chinese Culture and Education Society of Canada.
Grade 11 student Valentine Liu placed first and won $300 while Grade 10 student Billy Shi was right behind him and received $200. They topped more than 50 students from other Ontario schools in giving speeches on the topic “China and I” to highlight Chinese culture and history.
Liu mentioned his childhood memories of Chinese traditional medicine and used that as the theme for his entire speech.
“Chinese traditional medicine is something I enjoy exploring and talking about,” said Liu after receiving his top prize on Nov. 13.
“I used this term to express my feelings about China and my life. Usually bitterness comes before sweet, as we overcome challenges first and then we enjoy success.”
Shi reflected on his experience in his hometown of Hangzhou, China to express his hope for a better environment.
“I value this experience because I learned a lot from everyone’s speech about our rich culture and history in China,” Shi said in an interview after the competition. “Most importantly, I made friends here.”
Liu and Shi are taking Mandarin courses taught by Jane Li at UCC. While Mandarin is their first language, the classes help them study Chinese cultural backgrounds and keep them interested in learning more about China. Both are also in the UCC Mandarin Club, which provides them opportunities to introduce Chinese culture to other boys.