The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Chinese Program Winds Down


Chinese is being removed as a language course available at Williston, forcing interested students to choose a new language.

After many years of having the Chinese program as part of the Language Department at Williston, the course is being removed due to a lack of student interest. Students who spent most of their lives studying this language must now choose a new one, or take AP Chinese online for one final year.

Some former Chinese students who have spent years studying the language report that they feel lost, knowing that it will no longer be available. The decline in interest in taking the course comes despite the large percentage of international students at Williston who have taken Chinese in the past. Many Asian countries, such as Korea, Japan, and Singapore, provide Chinese as the most commonly taken second language course. Although Chinese arguably has greater usage on the Asian continent, many international students from Asia cannot further their Chinese studies at our school.

Maya Vulakh, a sophomore at Williston in Chinese four, feels distraught after spending most of her life taking Chinese.

“I don’t really have a lot of options if I want to restart a new language,” she said. “I’ve done Chinese for 10 years, and I don’t want to start a new language or have to do an online class, which I don’t think I’m going to get as much of an education out of as I could in an in-person class.”

Vulakh intends to further her Chinese education with the online AP course due to her current high level of proficiency in the language; however, only four students are likely to take the class next year.

According to attendance documentation by the language department, 77% of students taking the course currently in its final year are below the level of Chinese four, forcing them to choose a new language or abandon taking a foreign language.

Blue Meyerson, a sophomore at Williston in Chinese two, is now debating what language to take next year to fulfill her language requirements.

“As a sophomore who needs three years of language credits, it affects me a lot,” she said. “Now I have to take a completely new language as a junior next year.”

Terri Lee, the Chinese teacher at Williston since 2019, empathizes with and acknowledges the intentional decision of many international students to take Chinese as a foreign language, even if they do not necessarily have to.

“Every year, the majority of the students were international students,” she said. “I thought they appreciated it a lot, as they didn’t have to take a foreign language, but chose to take Chinese.”

Despite the disappointment about the course’s removal, this choice was not unexpected. The number of student participants has fluctuated over the years, according to Ms. Lee, to the extent that one student could be the sole occupant of a class.

Lee notes the unhappiness caused by the course’s upcoming removal. However, she finds contentment in the knowledge that she knew it would eventually happen.

“There have been years with one student … [I was] happy that I could cater to their needs,” she said. “I feel like the school has been very gracious to those who wanted to take Chinese, but, likely, it wouldn’t continue for long, so I’m not surprised.”

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