High School: Inspiration & Development — 2023 MIX Day

June 5, 2023

On June 2nd, the Multicultural International Expo (MIX) Day event, this year focused on the theme of "Inspiration and Development," was conducted on-campus. This full-day event was developed for students in Grades 9 to 11 and covered various liberal art fields such as Chinese and English languages, world languages, and social sciences. Both Chinese and foreign teachers were cordially invited to participate. The holistic activities, including stage performances, carnivals, professional lectures, and cultural interactions, resulted in an immersive cultural experience for all participants. MIX Day enhanced students' knowledge and cultural awareness, building their confidence and creative thinking capabilities, while also promoting cultural diversity and development.

The Charm of Chinese Language & Culture

The high school Chinese language group prepared multiple exciting activities.

At 9:45, the Chinese Storytelling Toastmasters Club officially kicked off. The thirteen contestants who stood out in the class competition showcased their unique performance. The speech set sail from "Dreams", with comments on poets, philosophical thoughts on history, and explorations of masterpieces. It involved immersing oneself in masterpieces and expressing personal life insights through anecdotes.

The famous Peking Opera specialist Wang Peiyu was invited. Ms. Wang introduced the development of Peking Opera and the performance characteristics of "singing with sound and dancing without movement". She also performed the four skills of Peking Opera on-site for the students. She led everyone to learn the emotional expression and body movements in Peking Opera, allowing students to experience the beauty and fun of Peking Opera.

During the "Shanghai Opera Culture Lecture", Ding Yebo, the inheritor of the Shanghai Intangible Cultural Heritage "Yuan School" of Shanghai Opera, showcased the interesting Shanghainese dialect pronunciations to the students and teachers. Teacher Ding also introduced the origin and development process of Shanghai opera, allowing everyone to have a more intuitive understanding of the other side of the fashionable "magic city" within it through the use of the Shanghainese dialect and Shanghai opera. The students interacted actively, not only trying to speak "the soft language", but also learning the theatrical greetings on stage, experiencing the daily life and fun of the old Shanghainese people.

A lecture related to oracle bone inscriptions and bronze culture slowly kicked off in the recording classroom. The teacher first explained the origin and significance of the ding and then introduced the different pictures. And in the subsequent process of handmade bronzeware, using the distributed materials to assemble a large cauldron and painting it with antique brass or turquoise, the students truly experienced the pleasure of "making cultural relics".

In the lecture hall, the annual grand performance of the Longyin Society was grand. Two girls in red danced to the light melody, and with a soft sound, one girl was taken into the scroll, crossing back to ancient China. She led the audience to experience the romantic and poignant stories of the talented woman Zhuo Wenjun from the Han dynasty; the flowing water, winding cups, and the magnificent scenery of the group of talents in "Preface to the Orchid Pavilion"; and the heroic and unrestrained atmosphere of "Xiake Xing". It is worth mentioning that the performances of the Longyin Society were all connected in the form of stories, with segments of music, poetry, and lighting connecting the programs, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in various touching and stirring historical eras along with the women in red.

Chinese Language Debate Society has brought the teacher-student debate competition as a highlight of the MIX Day events. The topic of the debate competition, "Is there real love in high school?", was close to students' lives and highly topical, so many students came to the lecture hall early to guarantee their seats for the event. "What is the essence of love?" "Can age determine a person's maturity and attitude towards love?" Student representatives threw out loud and powerful statements and questions, while teachers were able to easily answer their questions.

The entrance hall of the ZT Building has already begun various Chinese cultural and language experience projects. The traditional Chinese poetry of "painting in poetry" has also been integrated. Through hands-on practice, students could more truly experience these unique poetic aesthetics. In the "Poetry and Painting" activity, students used the given poetry fragments to imagine from the perspective of "painting beauty", and improvised to complete the painting work, complementing the artistic concept of poetry.

At the "Pink Ink Appearance" booth, students experienced various makeup styles of ancient people. The makeup images that only appear in TV dramas were reproduced one by one with the ingenious techniques of the student "makeup artists". Coupled with flowing long skirts and elegant long shirts, they felt like they were dreaming, as if back through the long river of history.

They completed their own calligraphy and painting under the guidance of students who were good at calligraphy and painting. These ancient and elegant art forms radiated unique vitality under the pen of a group of vibrant young students.

Literature Across the Ages

The English Literature Carnival came back to the XM Building and this year’s theme "Literature across the Ages" was all about immersing in literature and experiencing it firsthand!

For those who love interactive storytelling, the Choose Your Own Adventure exhibit offered readers the chance to take on the role of the protagonist and make choices that would ultimately determine the plot's outcome. Inspired by Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, these stories had been written by talented Grade 9 students whose works had been showcased and voted on at the MIX Day book fair.

Some of the rooms were set to explore human nature through the exhibits and activities. One of the highlights of the carnival was the exhibit based on Han Kang's novel The Vegetarian. Participants witnessed how a dietary change could lead to a spiral of horror and saw the oppressive side of humanity. Fans of Gothic literature visited The Yellow Wallpaper Room, inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story. Students took photos with the lady trapped in the wall, designed their own wallpaper pattern, and experienced what it is like to be afflicted with hysteria.

It has been a fascinating experience for book lovers and English literature enthusiasts alike. The opportunity to explore Dorian Grey's attic, where flowers bloom, and spirits speak let visitors enter the world of Oscar Wilde's character, see his portrait, and maybe even catch a glimpse of its mysterious powers. For those who wanted to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, Hemingway Cafe offered a cozy retreat to read and chat. Students stepped into the shoes of Holden Caulfield and explored the streets of New York City. This interactive experience let students immerse themselves in one of the most iconic characters of American literature. Finally, the Hogwarts Express awaited those who were ready for a magical adventure starting with the sorting ceremony and continuing to explore all the wonders of Harry Potter's world.

The opening of this year's Multilanguage Master Showcase was marked with the enchanting sounds of a Spanish song and an Italian opera. Ms. Li from the World Languages department started with a captivating presentation on Indo-European languages, using Spanish, French, Italian, and Catalan to encourage the speakers who followed to showcase their own skills.

Students from grades 9-11 took turns on stage, displaying an average proficiency in 4 or more languages and covering various cultural topics, from simple-to-understand cuisine recipes to the complexities of numbers and slangs in different dialects. The performances included everything from tongue twisters to rap music, leaving the audience deeply impressed. In the end, Zane from 10th grade and Jennifer from 9th grade won the most votes, earning them the title of champion and runner-up, respectively.

Viewing the World with Clear Mindset

The Social Science Department presented three exciting events. A mock trial was held in the early morning. This case was adapted from the "Rust incident" where a Hollywood movie star accidentally hurt the cinematographer on-site with a prop gun. The prosecution and defense had a fierce battle around whether the defendant was criminally negligent for the misfire. The roles of lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses, suspects, and judges were all played by the students, who worked hard to feel and express each role's position and characteristics. The jury duty was given to the audience who needed to give their verdict after careful consideration. By capturing the loopholes in the evidence, the lawyers fully interacted with the witnesses and judges in the cross-examination. The seriousness of a court trial was also reflected through students' court manners and professional terminology, and the carefully arranged defense strategy and objection battles allowed everyone to see the complexity of the application of law and reality.

After the closing arguments from both sides, the factual question of guilt was handed over to the audience jurors. Due to the excellent performance of the lawyers and witnesses of both sides, the voting results were very close, and until the last moment, the side with the guilty verdict won by a tiny 1% margin.

Next came the specialized session of the psychological games activity: students experienced amazing sensory experiences while also gaining a lot of knowledge about psychology through entertainment. Games such as "Whack-a-Mole" and "Make a Wish" not only gave students a relaxing and enjoyable experience, but also taught them how to cope with stress, set goals and plans, and express their inner emotions.

In the sensory experience area, there were five booths for visual, olfactory & gustatory, tactile, auditory, and illusion experiences. Students learned about the basic principles of sensation and perception and also experienced the importance of basic senses in our lives, as well as the limitations and formation of illusions. The combination of fun games and sensory experiences improved students' awareness of mental health and also helped them to have a deeper understanding of basic concepts and principles of psychology, which is of positive significance for promoting mental health education in schools.

In the visual area, students wore inverted glasses to complete various fun challenges in an upside-down world.

In the olfactory and gustatory area, students closed their eyes and pinched their noses while tasting different drinks.

In the tactile area, which area has the most sensitive sense?

In the illusion area, students experienced a sense of confusion by stimulating both their real arm and a fake rubber arm at the same time, making them think that the rubber arm was their own.

In the Lecture Hall, a catchy topic sparked heated debate between the students and the teachers. The topic was: "If AI reaches human-level intelligence, it will/will not deserve human rights.” The debaters explored complex issues involving ethics, law, and other social science areas. The debate prompted deep thinking about the place artificial intelligence should have in the future. Should artificial intelligence have the same rights as humans? What exactly are the "rights" protecting? Is the protection going to lead to abuse or regulative difficulties? Both sides used their constructive arguments and air-tight logic to lend everyone an opportunity to think about the future status of artificial intelligence, prompting us to think more deeply about the relationship between artificial intelligence and mankind.

College Fair

This year's MIX Day, with its feature of global cultural integration, saw the incorporation of a College Fair into this special day for the first time. The universities participating in this event included world-renowned institutions from China, the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc.

At noon, in order to give students more opportunities to communicate with the university admissions officers, booths were set up in the lobby of the Zhentao Building before the formal sessions began, and students who dressed in various countries' traditional costumes went to the booths housing the universities from the globe for a detailed consultation.

In the afternoon, nearly 20 info sessions with more systematic and detailed information were held in the classrooms of the ZT Building. The admissions officers enthusiastically introduced the history, learning experience, degree programs, career development/exchange opportunities, sports culture, and admissions requirements of their respective universities to the audience, and also prepared a lot of introduction materials and souvenirs for the students to take home. The students present also cherished this opportunity very much. They listened attentively to each piece of information provided by the admissions officers and actively asked the admissions officers specific questions tailored to their situations, which greatly enhanced their understanding of a given university and the application process. We hope that, in the near future, the students here today will go to these renowned academic institutions around the world to further their study.

(Written by High School Faculty and Students  Pictures by High School Faculty and Students  Edited by Roy Kouchakgi)