Eleven high school students are patiently awaiting the results of the Confucius Institute’s Chinese Poster Design Competition. The grand prize winner will receive a Confucius Institute Scholarship to join the Summer Bridge Program with other high school students to study in China.

These 11 students have already competed against 100 others, channeling their creativity and knowledge of China and Chinese culture into creating individual posters. They were named as first place winners, pushing them forward to the grand prize voting round.

The institute’s scholarship would fund the trip to China, spending money excluded.

Students relied on votes from WKU staff and students to win the competition.

Betty Yu, assistant director of the Confucius Institute, said votes should be tallied and a winner should be announced by Friday afternoon.

“The trip is quite costly to students,” Yu said. “We want to provide the opportunity for students who really want to go, the opportunity being that they can win this contest and go to China. Our first place students have spent hours and hours on the project.”

These first place winners were each awarded $50 Visa gift cards. Their posters, which are displayed in Panda Express, covered topics such as Chinese theatre, culture and historical facts about the country. The contest was open to all high school students in schools that are participants in the institute’s Hanban Chinese Teacher Program.

Wei Xu, a Chinese teacher at South Warren High School, had several students in her class participate in the competition, including one who made it to the final round.

“I had 20 students participate,” she said. “They worked on it out of class mostly, but I gave them time some Fridays to work.”

This is the third year the Confucius Institute has held this Chinese Summer Bridge Program. It was designed to take high school students to China for a two-week excursion to various cities in the country. In years past, the Institute has partnered with the Gatton Academy to send students abroad.

Terrill Martin, the associate director of business development for the Confucius Institute, is once again accompanying the upcoming group to China. This year he hopes to take 20-30 students, with 14 having already confirmed.

“High school students are impressionable, and we’re introducing them to another culture,” Martin said. “They’ll have class for an hour and a half in the morning and evening on language and culture. We’ll also do some sight seeing, visiting local places and historic places in the cities.”

Martin encourages this contest, as it is a way to help a student interested in the culture experience it first-hand and demonstrate their Chinese knowledge.

“With the contest a student can go to China, but it also really allows them to showcase their knowledge of China and what they are taking in from their classes,” Martin said.