Western students take top honors at Chinese Proficiency Competition

From left, Liana Palmer, Lilly Hesari and Modern & Classical Languages Instructor Claudia Liu at the Chinese Bridge competition in Tacoma on April 27.

Western students Lilly Hesari and Liana Palmer showcased their linguistic and artistic prowess at the 23rd “Chinese Proficiency Competition for World College Students,” Washington State Preliminary, held in Tacoma on April 27.

The competition, fondly known as the “Chinese Bridge,” has been the most influential event for Chinese language learners from colleges around the world since its inception in 2002. Organized by the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and the Confucius Institute of Washington State, the event this year drew participants from various institutions including the University of Washington, Western Washington University, Evergreen State College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Shoreline Community College, among others.

Lilly Hesari claimed the champion title with her exceptional performance across all three competition segments: speech, question and answer, and talent show. Inspired by the achievements of Kendall Kracke, a Western alumna who won the “World Champion” title in the 20th “Chinese Bridge” Competition in Beijing in 2021, Lilly’s victory underscores her dedication and proficiency in the Chinese language. She will proudly represent Washington state in the upcoming American Western Region Semi-final Competition scheduled to take place in San Francisco in early June.

Meanwhile, Liana Palmer, a first-year student in the Chinese program, secured second place with her exquisite Chinese speech and calligraphy. Her remarkable skill and artistic finesse left a lasting impression on the audience and judges alike. Expressing gratitude towards her language instructor and speech coach, Modern & Classical Languages Instructor Claudia Liu, Liana credited her success to the invaluable experiences gained from Liu’s Chinese 330 calligraphy course.

"Without Prof. Liu’s encouragement, guidance and support, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to stand out and participate in such a prestigious competition," said Palmer.

Lilly and Liana’s achievements not only reflect their individual talent and dedication but also underscore Western’s commitment to fostering linguistic and cultural excellence among its student body.