PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — From varying levels of Mandarin language instruction, to presentations about Chinese etiquette and culture, to celebrations of important Chinese festivals and traditions, the Confucius Institute has worked with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville since 2008 as a part of an international network of over 700 Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms dedicated to enhancing the understanding of Chinese language and culture around the world.

On Friday, Nov. 22, the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute together with St. Mary Central High School in Neenah, Wis. presented the grand opening of the St. Mary Central Confucius Classroom, the first of its kind to be under the administration of the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute.

“Our goals for the Confucius Classrooms are to promote language teaching and cultural recognition for students,” said Mei Reeder, assistant director of the Confucius Institute at UW-Platteville. “We want our students to be able to look past Chinese stereotypes as well as promote Chinese as a potential world language. It is invaluable for high school students to know a second language.”

The Confucius Institute is a collaborative project among the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and South-Central University for Nationalities in Wuhan, China. Together with Hanban, it is the major source of funding for the St. Mary Central Confucius Classroom.

“Because China is one of the more populous nations in the world, there are a significant number of Mandarin speakers in today’s world,” said Reeder. “The Chinese government wants to help students learn Mandarin, and the Confucius Institute is in a supporting role to help students learn a second language and work towards becoming a global citizen.”

The St. Mary’s Central Confucius Classroom, which will primarily be used first by the high school students, will be located in the transformed distance-learning lab at St. Mary’s Central High School. It will resemble an ancient Chinese classroom with low tables and pillows for seating, and colorful walls and rich wood accents. A Smart board will enable the instructor to engage students in learning to read and write Mandarin Chinese with the latest technology.

The reception for the grand opening included a Qipao fashion show featuring traditional Chinese clothing and music, demonstrations by Chinese nationals, and performances by the Mandarin Chinese students. The highlight of the evening was an authentic Qinlin Eye-Opening ceremony with a dancing lion and the unveiling of the brass plaque announcing Saint Mary’s Central High School as the site of a Confucius Classroom.

St. Mary’s Central High School has been working with the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute for the past three years to work through the application process. The Confucius Classroom is the only one in the Fox Cities and one of a handful in the state of Wisconsin. The UW-Platteville Confucius Institute is also working with school districts in Prairie du Chien, Wis. and Hazel Green, Wis. to establish additional Confucius Classrooms in the Southwest Wisconsin area.


Contact: Mei Reeder, assistant director, Confucius Institute, (608) 342-6014,

Written By: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,