CHMS honors institute
Published 4:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2015
Charles Henderson Middle School and Troy University held the official opening ceremony for the Confucius Institute at CHMS on Friday afternoon.
Dr. Earl Ingram, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained the importance of the institute.
“The purpose of the Confucius Institute is to share the Chinese language and culture who are not Chinese,” Ingram said. “It’s not just so people elsewhere in the world will learn Chinese, but it’s an opportunity to find out more about the culture, ethics and values of another people.”
The idea of the Confucius Institute began in 2007 when Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, then-Gov. Bob Riley and other board members met with counterparts in Beijing. At that time, Troy University became the 23rd institute in the United States and the first in Alabama. Today, it is still the only institute with a statewide mission.
“For us, we see it to be very important that we are serving in a small way and building a bridge,” Ingram said. “That bridge has many cables, and over time that bridge will get stronger.”
The Confucius Institute began by teaching Mandarin Chinese to college students. Eventually it moved into high school programs. This is the first year for it to be in a middle school system.
“Letting (the students) see at (their) age how the world is different, will help (them) appreciate others in the world,” Ingram said. “Most students do not have this opportunity.”
Before the assembly, CHMS held a reception, displaying Chinese decorations and authentic food to create the Chinese atmosphere for the guests. During the assembly, that atmosphere carried over, as the students were able to see three authentic Chinese performances. Two were dances and one was a song.
“This does not cost anything but the interest of the students,” Ingram said. “We are proud to be making this happen.”