Monticello High School student Tom Campbell flattered his teacher of Chinese by declaring in class that he wants to take the language in college.
“Holy cow, you talk about having a calling card,” said Fred Tucker, the only instructor of Chinese in Albemarle County schools, to the aspiring biotechnology major. “If you know Chinese, the tech links that will evolve over time between China and the United States - Chinese will be of great assistance to you.”
The numbers support Tucker. China is expanding rapidly, and more in the academic realm are taking notice.
Locally, the enrollment in Chinese 101 at the University of Virginia increased from 62 in Fall 2004 to 94 in Fall 2006, and 40 students were on the waiting list this past fall, said Ran Zhao, a professor of Chinese language at UVa.
Albemarle County schools implemented a Chinese language course at Monticello three years ago, and the class has slowly gained interest. Fifteen students are now enrolled with Tucker, six more than last year.