Ananya Murlidharan '22 delivered a timely, meaningful message and her wonderful execution and poise earned her second place in the 14th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Secondary School Students earlier this summer.
The Wardlaw+Hartridge rising senior has been studying Mandarin for five years and is grateful for the preparation, guidance and motivation provided by her teachers, Hua Liu and Alice Zhao. She credited her W+H teachers with showing “full confidence in my capabilities and ideas, which is what gave me the courage to submit my application and compete at the national level.” Ananya also was eager to enter the competition to test the limits of her knowledge and conversational skills in Mandarin.
Ananya’s speech title is translated as “bridge of/between souls,” which she believes addresses a very relevant topic.
“In the speech, I spoke about the significance of being a student of the Mandarin language and Chinese culture at a time in which anti-East Asian hate crimes and sentiments have been on the rise due to the spread of COVID-19,” Ananya said. “I asserted that students like me must aim to use our knowledge to eliminate such acts of violence and ignorance, acting as bridges between people’s souls (hence the title of the speech).”
The theme of this year’s competition was Fly High with Chinese. Students were free to develop the content based on their own language learning and life experiences for a speech between 3-4 minutes in length. During the online contest, four questions were asked immediately based on the delivered speech and contestants were required to respond appropriately to those questions.
Ananya felt that while her performance wasn’t perfect, she was able to persevere through her mistakes. She acknowledged that she still needs to work toward full fluency and recall in Mandarin but was proud of the content and quality of her speech.
“I believe what set me apart from other contestants was the message I chose to convey through my speech and the specificity of my answers during the Q&A. Ultimately, however, I think my performance was reflective of the effort I’ve put into learning the language over the course of several years and the dedication of my teachers,” said Ananya, one of 10 high school students selected from the nation to participate in the competition.