Columbia High School Students Win 2024 N.J. Chinese Cultural Project Contest


Students’ research project on artificial intelligence earns first prize in CHS’s 3rd consecutive win

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – For the third consecutive year, a team of Columbia High School (CHS) students has won First Place in the 2024 N.J. Chinese Cultural Project Contest.

Over four months, the team of 14 students developed a research project based on the contest’s research topic of how artificial intelligence (AI) impacts learning Chinese language and culture.

The competition began with 30 teams. The CHS team’s slide presentation for the semifinals, based on data from interviews and a survey they conducted, led to the team’s being one of eight teams to advance to the contest’s final round, which was held at Seton Hall University on Saturday.

“Participating in the contest provided an invaluable opportunity for the students to cultivate their research skills, to be exposed to Chinese language and culture, to develop effective teamwork, and to tap their diverse talents,” said Liping Meng, CHS teacher of Chinese and faculty advisor of the team. “The judges and members of the audience remarked on the high quality of the CHS team’s presentation, noting their thorough research, meticulous design, well-structured organization, and impressive creativity.”

“I want to congratulate Ms. Meng and all of the Columbia High School students who worked so hard to bring home the third consecutive victory in the 2024 New Jersey Chinese Cultural Project Contest,” said Dr. Kevin F. Gilbert, Acting Superintendent of the South Orange and Maplewood School District. “Ms. Meng’s consistent efforts in advising her students and the students’ commitment to hard work have established a tradition of excellence in the study of Chinese culture. We are very proud of what they have accomplished.”

Sharon Chen, Bryant Yang (team leader), Chinese Teacher and Faculty Advisor Liping Meng, Sherry Chen, Sydney Anrig, Stella Iyengar, and Emily Hinge

“Ms. Meng and her students are to be commended for winning this honor three years in a row,” said Ricardo Pedro, Interim Principal of Columbia High School. “Their outstanding scholarship and enthusiastic study has brought enormous pride to Columbia High School. Congratulations to everyone on the team.”

Team leader Bryant Yang and Emily Hinge, Sydney Anrig, Stella Iyengar, and Sherry Chen (all juniors) presented their research findings and illustrated their analyses with three Chinese skits to show what AI can and cannot do. One skit involved creating a picture of a family making dumplings for a book about Chinese food culture, in which the AI-created picture incorrectly showed a family making buns. A second skit focused on teaching Taichi movements, in which AI was no substitute for a human coach. Finally, the third skit involved learning about a poem written during the Tang Dynasty, in which AI proved helpful in efficiently searching for materials.

Sophomore Rachael Mayer and juniors Ella O’Brien, Henry Meyer Thompson, and Benjamin Rimas assisted with the project research.

Juniors Maya Lipow, Cerys Evans, Audrey Haber, Sharon Chen, and sophomore Coco Fox helped make props.

CHS students competing in the N.J. Chinese Cultural Project Contest

The New Jersey Chinese Cultural Project Contest is hosted by The New Jersey Chinese Cultural Studies Foundation and the Seton Hall University Department of Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

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