SAN FRANCISCO, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The 15th Chinese Bridge Cup Contest ended here Sunday after two days of fierce competition among students from various schools in Northern California.
The annual contest, jointly hosted by the Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), drew more than 1,000 young people from kindergarten kids to 12-graders in Northern California.
The students, including American kids and the second generation of Chinese Americans born in the United States, demonstrated their talent in Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as their language proficiency in the contests of Chinese language composition and poem recital.
A program coordinator for the competition, who preferred not to be identified, said about 400 students appeared for Sunday's contests of poem recital in Mandarin and Cantonese on the second day of the two-day event.
Many of them chose ancient Chinese poems to try to impress judges, while others recited modern Chinese poetic literature to highlight their unique literary taste.
Jiaxin Xie, director of Confucius Institute at SFSU, told Xinhua on Sunday that the contest is part of Confucius Institute to promote Chinese education and culture for U.S. students and the general public.
"Teachers from Confucius Institute offered free non-credit programs on the Chinese language for students and staff members of SFSU, which received a warm response from the participants," Xie said.
Such programs catered to the needs of U.S. students who have a strong interest in the Chinese language and culture, he added.
David Wong, assistant superintendent of SFUSD, called the contest a new platform for middle and high school students to expand their horizon and the reach of their academic study.
"It's an opportunity for the students to express themselves to their peers from other schools, which could be an incentive to deliver their cultural dreams," he said.
Christine Facella, assistant superintendent of Educational Services at Riverbank Unified School District in Central Valley of California, made a special trip to the contest site to observe the competition on Saturday.
She said cooperation with Confucius Institute would help her school district obtain necessary resources to improve Chinese language training and teaching where Chinese education was relatively weak compared to other regions of Northern California.
The final results of the contest will be released in a few weeks, an organizer said.