Sydney Holdsworth tapped as WHS's 4th participant in UNL's competitive STARTALK Academy
WHS sophomore will spend two weeks this summer on UNL campus studying Chinese language & culture
The accomplishments of Wahoo High School students continue to stack up, and WHS sophomore Sydney Holdsworth has added another success to the list.
Holdsworth has been awarded a competitive grant to participate in the 2016 STARTALK program, sponsored by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln!
According to their website, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2016 STARTALK Chinese Language, Culture and Technology Summer Academy is designed to provide an immersion experience in Chinese language and culture. The focus of the Academy curriculum will be on gaining language skills, cultural understanding, and digital media expertise in order to practice Chinese and continue to increase in language proficiency after the Academy is over.
The Academy will consist of 14 instructional days for high schools students in grades 9-12 who are interested in learning Chinese. The outcomes of the Academy are:
1) to develop interest in Chinese language and culture among high school students resulting in the establishment of programs across Nebraska,
2) to immerse 20 high school students in the Chinese language and culture using innovative digital media to teach and assess language and culture,
3) to pair each high school Chinese learner with a teacher of Chinese who will serve as mentor for the duration of the two week Academy, and
4) to promote continued development of the Chinese language and culture through the LinguaFolio and ePortfolio designed to encourage continued study and to assess student achievement.
This experience will not only enable students to be immersed in the Chinese language and culture, but will also allow them to become proficient in using iPads as a language learning tool. All expenses related to the Academy are covered, including housing, meals and supplies. Participants will live in dorms at UNL during the academy.
At the same time the high school students will be at UNL, 15 high school Chinese teachers, most of whom are native Chinese speakers, will also be hosted. Both groups will be living together in the dormitory, providing a unique opportunity for all parties to learn from one another. The cooperative learning opportunities of having these groups in such close proximity 24-hours a day, 7 days a week is invaluable. Students will be able to interact one-on-one and in small groups with native Chinese speakers on evenings and weekends through carefully structured social events.
Opportunities like this oftentimes lead to bigger and better opportunities for students.
Holdsworth is the fourth WHS student in recent years to be chosen for this honor. WHS sophomore Kaitlin Pace and junior Shawn Knowlton attended STARTALK last summer, and WHS alum Tyler Ruzicka attended the STARTALK program during the summer of 2013. Ruzicka followed up his STARTALK experience with a year-long study in China, thanks to a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship. He will return home in June, and then enroll at the University of Wisconsin, where he will pursue a degree in International Studies.
"Sydney continues to build an impressive resumé," commented WHS Spanish Instructor Cass Didier. "I think it's awesome she is willing to push her comfort zone and learn another language. I am excited to see how this experience will help shape her very bright future."
Congratulations Sydney on this impressive accomplishment!