BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- Bentonville High School recently received a grant to further students' study of the world's most widely spoken language: Chinese.
The school has offered a Chinese language program, which is run through the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas, for about six years and has an enrollment of about 150 students. The program at UCA also allows BHS to bring in a teacher who is a native to the Chinese language.
BHS recently received a grant to purchase iPads, brushes, ink, paper and practice mats for teaching Chinese writing because of their program's success.
Bentonville School District Director of Communication Paul Stolt said the reason BHS offers the language program is simple.
"When you look globally, you have to realize there are more people speaking Chinese," said Stolt. "If you're doing business on a global scale you're likely to come across someone who's going to be a native Chinese speaker, someone who is involved with someone speaking Chinese or a company that's speaking Chinese as one of their primary languages."
Stolt said the more the students understand the language and culture of China, the more valuable they will be to the companies they work for.
"I've always been interested in Asian culture," said BHS student Lucy Carter. "I was very surprised to hear that they had a Chinese program at the high school. Where I came from they didn't have that," Carter added.
Bentonville Schools said they offer four Chinese courses and there's about 150 kids enrolled in the program.