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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Chinese teacher retires causing for the temporary discontinuation of Chinese

Photo Credit: Malia Calitis
During the Chinese Fours’ class last day, the class gathered together around teacher Yau-Wen Lin. The class held the Taiwan flag to represent where Lin grew up in.

On December 22, 2023, former Chinese teacher Yau-Wen Lin retired from Colonia High School. Due to this, future Colonia High School students may not be able to take Chinese classes.  

The Chinese Course at Colonia High School

Colonia High School, New Jersey has offered students who attend the school the opportunity to pursue Chinese as a foreign language class. The teacher, Lin, has been teaching the class. The school offered students to take up to four years of Chinese. 

If a student had reached the class level of Chinese 3 and 4, which was a dual-enrollment course at the high school, they could obtain college credit in partnership with Middlesex County College. For the school year of 2023-2024, a total of 39 students had enrolled for a Chinese class. 

Impact of Yau-Wen Lin

As the year of 2023 concluded at Colonia High School, Chinese students were left with no teacher for their class. Lin had retired before the winter break for Colonia High School students.  Though many students such as Patrcia Sinaga were excited to not have to take a final for the class, many felt the class was different from teacher Yau-Wen Lin.

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Student Aryan Ghariwala said, “Ms. Lin would create a safe environment which made school fun. She taught me more about Taiwan as she grew up there.” Ghariwala had stated that Lin was an influential teacher as well as she would talk highly about Chinese culture and taught many about it. 

National Chinese Honor Society at Colonia High School

Lin invited students to be a part of the National Chinese Honor Society. Students had to take Chinese for 2 years and had at least a B in each quarter of the course. The honor society was filled with people who had a passion for both the language and the culture, as advised by Lin. To keep good standing within the honor society, Lin required students to have at least a B in any Chinese class alongside not missing three meetings. Student Malia Calitis said that being a part of the honor society has made her more aware of the culture such as the meaning behind dragons. There were 13 members inducted into the chapter for the 2022-2023 school year.

Chinese at Woodbridge High School 

Other schools within Woodbridge Township still offer Chinese to their students. Senior Sherry Wang attends Woodbridge High School. Wang is the current president of the National Chinese Honor Society Chapter at Woodbridge High School. Tiffany Chen, the current Chinese teacher at the school, is the advisor for the chapter. Chen teaches Chinese 1, Chinese 2, Chinese 3, Chinese 4 and previously AP Chinese. Wang and Chen alsonside other members of the club held an Asian prop party for their chapter. Wang had stated that the event had brought passion for Asian culture as a whole and brought the honor society together.

Future of Chinese at Woodbridge High School

The course and honor society will still be running for the future of Woodbridge High School. Wang has stated that “It is unfortunate how one school can offer the course while another school cannot.” Wang wishes the chapter at Colonia High School would get the opportunity again to re-establish the honor society alongside the curriculum for Chinese.

The future of Chinese course students

As of the 2024-2025 school year, Colonia High School is not offering Chinese classes for the school year. Job listing has been put out for a teaching position. President of the National Chinese Honor Society Calitis has stated that members of the society from previous years junior will still obtain a cord. The current seniors will receive their cords at their graduation ceremony. Lin had previously bought them before retirement.

Calitis stated that current juniors will not receive their cords for the 2024 school year however. Calitis has also stated that as of the 2023-2024 school year that they will no longer accept any applications for the society.

The impact of Chinese culture

Students previously enrolled in the Chinese courses had stated how much Chinese culture has impacted them and their academic career. Student Chaitanya Krishna has stated how she would still recommend students in middle school to take Chinese even if they end up at Colonia High School. Students at Colonia High want the opportunity to learn and to continue the course. Administration at the high school is working to find a Chinese teacher for future school years. The course is yet to be offered for the 2024-2025 school year.

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About the Contributor
Jaden Espiritu
Jaden Espiritu, Reporter
Jaden Espiritu is a senior at Colonia High School. He is a Filipino American who is involved in many activities in his school physically and mentally. He is a part of the cross country and tennis team. Espiritu is also taking part in numerous AP classes and dual enrollment classes. Out of all the AP classes taken, Espiritu has found AP Biology and the dual enrollment course Anatomy and Physiology the most interesting. He plans on pursuing a pre-med track in college with a major in Bio. Other clubs he is a part of in his high school include Mini-THON where he has raised over $10,000 for pediatric cancer. Espiritu has also been in the school’s marching band for four years where he plays the alto sax. He plans to continue playing his instrument in his lifetime.  In his free time Espiritu loves to travel. Whether it is a small antique store or a historical museum in a different country or state, Espiritu loves the idea of exploring the world. To capture these moments, Espiritu also likes to take pictures anywhere he goes. Espiritu can’t help but capture the moment with his phone or camera. Other hobbies include playing video games and writing about current events. Espiritu is very excited to take journalism and to become a journalist. It fosters his creativity and allows him to advocate for change for the world while at the same time writing about topics he is passionate about. 

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