Accelerated Elementary and Secondary Schools (AES) student, Jose Antonio Gonzalez Mendoza, a senior this year, took third place in the “Annual World Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition Finals” held in Yunnan Province, China. Jose became The Southwest United States Regional Representative after winning first place in the “Regional Chinese Bridge Proficiency Competition” held at San Diego State University, May, 2013. Since the competition’s inception in 2002, more than 600 contestants representing over 50 countries have participated. Jose said, “I have to give my brilliant teacher, Claire Wang and her incredible teaching techniques, credit for my success. Without her nurturing support, I would never have dared take on such a challenge.”

Serei Kay, an AES administrator, said, “Winning this competition, as impressive as it is, is the least noteworthy of Jose’s activities. Jose has been to China numerous times, at least once, with the group of students that AES takes to China every year, and another time he spent his summer in China teaching surgeons English, and learning from them as he watched them perform operations. The surgeons were also kind enough to include him their daily rounds, interactions with patients and after-hours social activities. Jose is interested in studying medicine in college and I was pleased that AES was able to facilitate this opportunity for him to get real life experience at such a young age. Jose is also a student participant in Accelerated Learning Laboratory’s Cognitive Learning Project (CLP). Jose and some of his classmates are in the process of developing an unusual website expressing students’ views on the educational reform they have been part of at AES. You might want to check it out But, if you do, I won’t take responsibility for how it changes you. If that isn’t enough, he wants to help me plan school trips to China, Italy and Washington DC. And He and his AES counselor are feverishly working on his application to Harvard.”

Serei, with an impish smile and a glance from her dark eyes that makes you feel like you’ve just fallen down a flight of stairs, goes on to say, “Yup, I’d like to stand around all day and gab about one student but all of our students are doing exciting things, Like Wyatt, who discovered tiny impact craters on some rare meteorites that our students had collected, or a happy and normal kindergartener who is doing school work that a normal 8th grader would find challenging. Perhaps your readership would be interested in the innovations in instruction that our staff has developed. Now, that’s news worthy. Or Perhaps they would be interested in the Confucius Classroom we are hosting on our campus with aid and support from the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona. Yup, I’d like to, but I’ve got more important things to do.” With my usual sophistication and a slight bow, I shook her small hand. My feet inexplicably entangled and I dropped to my knees. The corners of her mouth rose as she shook her head and walked away.

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