MONTGOMERY - The Confucius Institute at Troy University celebrated the success of its partnership with a Montgomery high school and honored the teacher at the heart of that success during an appreciation banquet on Feb. 5 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel.
TROY and Confucius Institute officials recognized the achievement of students enrolled in the Confucius Classroom at Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School (LAMP) and honored their teacher, Steven Frost, with the Excellence in Teaching Award.
The Confucius Classrooms program is designed to support Chinese language and cultural education in local communities. Launched in 2011, the Confucius Classroom partnership provides LAMP High School with access to funding and support for its Chinese language program.
Frost said he was appreciative of the honor and the support of the Confucius Institute at Troy University.
"Being a Confucius Classrooms partner gives our students opportunities they wouldn't ordinarily have while they are still in high school," said Frost, who teaches mandarin Chinese at LAMP and also at Montgomery's Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School. "The funding through the program makes a huge difference in terms of the curriculum we are able to use in the classroom, the multimedia resources and field trips. This partnership also brings a lot of positive attention to our students and our programs."
Some of Frost's students put what they are learning on display for those gathered Wednesday night, performing songs and poetry in Chinese. They were joined by Chinese students from Troy University, who helped celebrate the Year of the Horse by performing traditional Chinese songs and dances associated with the Spring Festival.
Frost said he had seen tremendous growth in the numbers of students interested in learning Chinese language and culture.
"I started teaching mandarin four years ago with 11 students," Frost said. "Today, I have more than 70 students. I have more middle school students at Baldwin who want to take mandarin classes than I can teach. There seems to be a tremendous openness and interest among our young students today, which is represents a departure from what has in the past been thought of as traditional foreign languages."
The Confucius Institute at Troy University, part of a network of nearly 400 Confucius Institutes around the world, was established in 2007. With offices in Montgomery, Troy and Dothan, TROY's Confucius Institute is the state's only such institute with a statewide mission of providing the people of Alabama with knowledge of China that will serve business, educational, cultural and public interests.
The Office at TROY's Montgomery Campus gives schools and businesses in the River Region increased access to a variety of services including language training, study abroad programs and translation services, among other programs.
In 2012, the Institute at TROY was named one of six Confucius Institutes of the Year in the United States.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. (right), Chancellor of Troy University, presents Steven Frost, who teaches mandarin Chinese at Montgomery's Loveless Academic Magnet Program (LAMP), with the Confucius Institute at Troy University's Excellence in Teaching Award during a banquet Feb. 5 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel. LAMP is the Institute's first Confucius Classroom in the city of Montgomery.