SPOKANE, Wash. – Up to 60 Spokane-area K-12 students will receive the opportunity to study Chinese this summer at Gonzaga University, thanks to a $95,610 grant from Startalk, a federally sponsored program designed to foster interest in less commonly taught languages such as Chinese, Arabic and Hindi.
Gonzaga will begin accepting applications soon for the three sessions (K-6, middle school, and high school). The K-6 session runs for two weeks, from June 24-July 5; the middle school and high school sessions run for four weeks, from July 1-25. For application procedures or to download application materials, visit the program website.
For the fifth consecutive year, Gonzaga’s modern languages department secured the grant that will allow students to receive beginning Chinese language instruction, since it is generally not offered in Spokane Public Schools. Startalk funding allows Gonzaga to offer the program free of cost (a small cost applies for students who take the course for credit). All books and instructional materials are covered by the grant. In addition to language instruction, the program also includes Chinese cultural activities, such as Tai Chi, calligraphy, dance, and watercolor painting.
Ben Semple, professor of modern languages, wrote the grant proposal. The team implementing the project will consist of Semple (program director), Bin Cheng Crow (lead instructor), Mary Jeannot (teacher trainer), and Lisa Meyer (senior program assistant).
Startalk is a component program of the National Strategic Language Initiative. The U.S. departments of State, Education, and Defense, and the director of National Intelligence are collaborating in this effort to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning “critical-need languages.” Instruction in such languages is vital to ensure U.S. security, maintain economic competitiveness, and foster intercultural understanding.