24 February 2020
TWO Roedean pupils met Prime Minister Boris Johnson at number 10 as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Martha Morrison, 15, and Tinayeishe Mapfumo, 14, travelled to London with their Chinese teacher Lin Wu to take part in a Downing Street reception for the British Chinese community to celebrate the advent of the lunar new year which lasts until February 8.
Some 30 pupils from across the country were chosen to attend and Martha and Tinayeishe were picked by Ms Wu because of their love of learning the language.
Mr Johnson was treated to a performance by bright red and yellow dragons outside his front door before mingling with the pupils and learning how to write Chinese characters by brush pen.
Tinayeishe said: “I really enjoyed visiting 10 Downing Street and seeing the prime minister in person. I felt very special to be one of the children who greeted him in Mandarin and very privileged to have been in the same room him and other important Chinese officials like the Chinese ambassador. The dragon dance was captivating and at the end Boris Johnson painted the eyes of the dragon and it was really interesting to see more of the Chinese culture and tradition. The prime minister seemed very friendly and welcoming and looked like he really enjoyed embracing the Chinese culture. Before he left, he took a picture with all the children and while that picture was being taken he was singing what sounded like a nursery rhyme which was quite interesting.”
Added Martha: “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I got to try new Chinese foods that I have never tasted before and learn more about Chinese culture. I think being around so many Chinese speaking people has helped me a bit with my learning, as I got to listen to pronunciation. I feel very lucky and grateful to have attended, and it was very inspiring to see Mr Johnson in person.”
Roedean Chinese department was in celebratory mood this week as two of its other pupils beat five million students around the globe to come first and second in the 20th World Chinese Essay Writing Competition.
Year 9 pupil Yoyo Zhang won the global competition with an essay on Confucius while Lareina Yang took second spot.