Startalk 2009 at Palo Alto Unified School District

Yesterday I was invited along with a few of my colleagues to attend a Startalk 2009 Recognition Celebration luncheon at Palo Alto High School.  Throughout the summer, we have been working very hard in creating new support materials for materials, conducting seminars, and working closely with schools/districts/states for their Chinese textbook requirements. Yesterday, it was a reminder of why we do what we do.  During the celebration luncheon, we had fantastic food catered by a Palo Altan Chinese restaurant (Ming's -  The recognition celebration was both for a group of students who underwent an intensive 1 month Chinese training program and a group of teachers who did a week long teacher training. The students presented in groups in Mandarin Chinese on topics that they thought were meaningful.  The lower level students talked about/described Chinese Valentine's, their art project, their typical days, etc.  The higher level students did this whole skit on two students' trips to China and Hong Kong and the things they might have encountered if they were there.  The 12 students in the skit created the entire skit by themselves.  We were all very impressed and entertained.  Brilliant! If you want to find out more about Startalk, you can go to the National Foreign Language Center website ( and click on the brochure link (  You can also probably find local Startalk program by googling around. It was very rewarding to see that things all the educators do have an enduring impact on the the students' lives.  It energizes all of us to keep doing. Good summer, -James


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