SEVEN Wirral schoolboys have won a trip of a lifetime to the Far East after impressing judges in a Chinese speaking competition.
The young linguists from Calday Grange Grammar School scooped top prize in two categories by speaking eloquent Mandarin Chinese to a panel of expert judges at the British Museum.
The talented boys secured the double win in the individual and group categories.
Jeroen Saccheri, aged 17, won the advanced individual category in the competition.
And a costumed group performance entitled ‘Monkey King versus Pigsy’ by 13-year-olds Adam Harland and Christopher Hayes, Richard Cruttenden, aged 17, Tom Cureton, 15, and 16-year-olds Joshua Sebastian and Vincas Sidaras won the group category.
They will visit Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China at Easter.
They join two other winners out of 90 participants from 25 schools across the UK.
Jeroen said: "I am truly grateful for this amazing opportunity to visit Beijing and further my Chinese studies.
“I am so thankful to my teachers for encouraging me to study Chinese at Calday. I have been studying Chinese since I was just 11-years-old, I have learnt such a lot over the last few years and look forward to future opportunities to improve my language skills even more."
Now in its ninth year, the competition is organised by the British Council and supported by HSBC to promote the teaching of Mandarin Chinese as a modern foreign language in UK schools. It is the only national event of its kind in the UK.
Proud headteacher of Calday Grange, Michael Twist added: "Working with the school continues to be an inspiration. Dedicated colleagues bring the best out of committed students. I am delighted for all the prize winners and would like to record my congratulations to them and also to my colleagues without whose hard work this success would not be possible."
With China overtaking Japan last year to become the world’s second largest economy, Mandarin is becoming more and more important.
Equipped with these skills, the schoolboys have a greater advantage when entering employment in a world where links with China are essential.
Martin Davidson, British Council Chief Executive, said: “Having a good knowledge of Mandarin Chinese has never been so important. With China recently becoming the world’s second biggest economy, our children need to understand China in all its facets if we are to be successful in working together, whether in business or in other ways in the future.”