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May 31, 2018

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Outstanding kids honored with scholarships

A total of 1,532 students from across the country are awarded Soong Ching Ling Scholarships today.

The scholarship was launched in 1994 by the Ministry of Education, the China Welfare Institute and the Soong Ching Ling Foundation for outstanding primary and middle school students in China every two years.

It is the only national scholarship in China for students in the nine-year compulsory education period.

It aims to promote the great spirit of Soong Ching Ling, the late honorary president of the People’s Republic of China, and encourage students to become morally good, knowledgeable and capable persons and be the backbones of the country.

It also aims to stimulate more students to strive for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and realization of the China Dream, and to promote public awareness of the importance of education and the cultivation of talent.

Since its inauguration, 12,250 students have received the scholarship. Here are five of this year’s winners.

Meng Zihan
— Peking opera champion, 13, Tianjin

Meng Zihan is a seventh-grader at Tianjin Nankai Xiangyu School and a traditional Chinese culture enthusiast.

He has been studying the ancient Chinese classics, calligraphy, martial arts, the Chinese plucked zither and Peking Opera.

As a student of famous Peking Opera artist Wang Zezhao, Meng learned the Tan style, a nearly vanished operatic performance style. He won a gold prize in the junior amateur group in a Peking Opera performance competition organized by CCTV between 2013 and 2014.

In 2015, he set up a class to teach his schoolmates about opera with support from the school. He also attended the national congress of Young Pioneers in 2015 and met President Xi Jinping. During the congress, he also submitted a proposal, calling on young students to be volunteers for passing on intangible cultural heritage.

His school adopted his proposal to use Chinese plucked zither music as the class bell.

He Zhijun — science explorer,
15, Heilongjiang Province

He Zhijun is a ninth-grader at Jixi First Middle School and president of its student union, known for his independent exploration in natural sciences.

He is good at studying by himself, using various sources. He has read more than 5,000 books and regularly visits science websites. He has visited botanic gardens in Guangzhou, Harbin and Hainan and dozens of science museums around China. He has also investigated the Ala Shan Desert and the South Tibetan region.

His interests include botany, mineralogy, geology, genetic modification, robots, artificial intelligence, combustible ice and graphene.

In 2012, one of his botanic research programs won first prize at the Chinese Youth Academy of Sciences and he was employed as its academician. He has visited the Geological Museum of China in Beijing four times and investigated the ore deposits in graphite mines.

He has also studied gemology by himself and is good at identifying silica stones.

Tan Zhong — volunteer pioneer, 14, Shanghai

Tan Zhong, an eighth-grader, is captain of the Young Pioneers at Shanghai Yan’an Middle School. He is known for outstanding academic performance and his dedication to voluntary service. His enthusiasm in volunteering dates back to 2014 when the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia was held in Shanghai.

As a representative of Shanghai Young Pioneers, Tan was selected to greet guests at the airport and was later honored as an outstanding volunteer.

“The service was laborious but made me happy,” he said at the award ceremony.

The experience sparked his passion and in 2015 he subscribed to the Shanghai Volunteer Association’s website and, since then, has spent more than 400 hours volunteering.

Last summer, Tan set up a volunteer service organization named “Yan’an Heart” as he was no longer content with being merely a participant.

The organization mainly provides guidance and help to people at Hongqiao Railway Station and Changning Library.

He has organized more than 40 services and attracted not only schoolmates, but also high school and even university students to join them.

At the railway station, he had helped passengers angry at broken ticket-selling machines, helped a foreigner find his lost luggage and lost his voice after repeatedly offering guidance to passengers during the Spring Festival rush.

At school, Tan is among the best in academic tests. He loves literature. The magazine “Little Journalists” honored him as one of the “Best Little Journalists.”

Lin Yixuan — village delivery girl, 12, Fujian Province

Lin Yixuan, a sixth-grader at Shanchong Primary School in Zhangzhou’s Changtai County in Fujian Province, has traveled more than 1,200 kilometers to deliver over 1,000 letters, newspapers and magazines to villagers since September 2014. The mailroom at the school also serves as a mail dispatch center, with a team of student volunteers, “Red Scarf,” delivering the mail to the Shanchong Village residents free of charge.

When Lin was a first-grader, she saw members of the team going to the mailroom every day to fetch the mail and deliver it after school. She wanted to be one of them.

But the school rules said only fourth-graders or older could join in the team. She was so eager to become a delivery girl that she sometimes followed the older students while the delivered the mail.

When she entered third grade, she couldn’t wait any longer and pleaded with the teacher supervising the delivery team. After a careful assessment, the school made an exception and allowed her to serve residents in her neighborhood.

Her dedication won her the respect of schoolmates and teachers.

In September 2016, the 26-strong team voted her as the 29th leader of “Red Scarf.”

Before school dismissed, Lin classifies the mail into 13 piles as there are 13 neighborhoods in the village, so that other team members can fetch their mail more easily.

When a team member fell sick, Lin delivered her mail. As the neighborhood was far from her own, she was not familiar with the route but managed to get all the mail into the right hands after a number of detours.

Jiang Yuyan — daring swimmer, 13, Zhejiang Province

Jiang Yuyan is a seventh-grader at Shaoxing Jiangong Middle School in Zhejiang Province.

She lost her right arm and leg when she was run over by a truck at the age of 4. But she never surrendered to fate and has been dreaming of being respected as an ordinary person.

Doctors suggested she learn to swim, saying it was good for her growth, so her mother registered her at a training agency in 2012 when she was 8.

The imbalance caused by her injury made learning much more difficult than other children and she inhaled water frequently at first.

“She failed again and again, but she kept trying. When she succeeded for the first time, she was so excited that it looked like she had caught a big fish,” said her mother Wang Zhifang.

After that, she learned the basics soon enough and began to show such extraordinary talent that was selected for a swimming team in Shaoxing City.

With diligent training day after day, she made her way to national competitions.

In 2015, she won first prize in a 50-meter butterfly in the National Open Swimming Championships of Disabled People, which was held in Beijing.

Last year, she won six gold medals and a silver in the National Swimming Championships of Disabled People.


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