St. Mary's class offers Mandarin language

St. Mary's School in September will begin offering a beginning Mandarin language class on Thursday nights at no cost.

The 30-week course, open to the community, was made possible through a $50,000 Confucius Classroom grant from the Chinese government-affiliated Hanban Chinese Language Council International.

St. Mary's is the first high school in the United States to receive the grant, which is intended to promote Chinese language and culture.

The class will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., beginning Sept. 18, in Room 204 at 816 Black Oak Drive in Medford. Class size is limited to 20.

Chinese teacher Zheng Ling, who recently came from Henan University of Technology's School of Foreign Languages in Zhengzhou, China, to teach Mandarin to St. Mary's students, also will teach the community course.

"I'm very excited to have the community people here," Ling said.

Ling's husband, Su Guoying, taught Mandarin at the private Catholic school last year, taking leave from his job as a professor at Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou.

The course is designed for ages 12 and up with no experience in Mandarin. It will begin with the basics of pronunciation, tones, pinyin and simple Chinese characters.

"The goal of the class is to achieve a familiarity with the basics of the language and learn some common conversational skills," said Principal Frank Phillips.

Ling said she also plans to incorporate Chinese culture into the classes.

"If there is an interest in the culture, this interest will push them further in language learning," Ling said.

St. Mary's, with about 400 pupils, is the only middle school and high school in Jackson County that offers Chinese. It was chosen as a Confucius School in part because of its Mandarin curriculum, which is required for sixth-graders and offered in grades 6 through 12.

To register for the classes, e-mail Hal Wing, St. Mary's director of academic affairs, at or call 541-773-7877.

For details about the Confucius School, visit

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or

Share This Story