A Twenty-Five Year Experiment－7
Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way
By Bih-Hua Chen
Before I realized it, Kang and Chia had grown up. Not like most Taiwanese students who preferred to study in private schools or take extra lessons in cram schools in order to get into prestigious universities, Kang and Chia studied in public schools but passed all the competitive entrance exams to enter the best high schools and universities in Taiwan. They had lots of opportunities to represent for their schools to participate in many academic competitions and always had good results. They also received scholarships to study in Japan and became proficient in Japanese within a year. Through this experience, they proved that learning a third language became much easier after learning a second one. In 2005 Kang got admitted to Harvard graduate school and his professors and classmates couldn’t tell that he was a foreign student because he still sounded like a New Yorker. Kang found a job on Wall Street, New York right after he graduated and has thrived during the current world economic crisis. Chia graduated with honors from Ching Hua University last year which is considered the MIT in Taiwan, and now he has received offers from three world renowned universities.
Through their school years, I noticed that English played a very important role in their outstanding performances. Since they could use English naturally, they never missed the opportunities to show their potential. Their outstanding performances had built up their self esteem and confidence through out their school years. We were proud that a few years ago they were chosen as two of the 18 students to meet President Clinton in Taiwan. One of the highlights Kang had was that he won the first prize at a national English speech contest which was held by the Ministry of Education. Compared with Kang, Chia is more reserved but his scientific mind helped him to be a star in many international science competitions. The other achievement Chia made is that he won the National Japanese Speech Contest held by Ministry of Education after he came back from Japan. I am also very happy to find out that most Cornel graduates were very outstanding throughout their school years as well. Many of them got into the best universities in Taiwan and some of them even had opportunities to go to the Ivy League Schools in the States. They are not just academically high achievers but they are well-rounded youngsters.
I am very happy that my hypothesis has proved right through this 25-year experiment. It has shown that Taiwanese students can do as well as the students who live in America. I feel disappointed about the government’s policy and I am worried that our young generation is losing out to the students from China. It is my hope that my findings can help the government change its policy. Taiwan is a small island, but I believe that there are still plenty of opportunities for people to thrive if they are well prepared. In the global village, English is a MUST.
Twenty-five years is not a short time in one’s life and this experiment was such a tough task to carry out by myself. However, I am very lucky to have two wonderful sons who tried their best to honor their parents. They understood how difficult it was for their mother to run a school in a man’s world and they showed people how well they could do in everything they were involved with. I am also very lucky to have a very loving and caring husband who stood firmly behind me whenever I was in trouble. I know this experiment could never have been completed without all the support from my family. Six years ago when we were thrilled to hear that Kang had been admitted to Harvard to study at Kennedy School which was a dream school for students, Chia told me that he would like to work toward admission to MIT so I can claim that my experiment is a breakthrough in English education and Cornel is a miracle. He has MADE it! All those years, Kang and Chia tried their best to help me prove what I was doing is exactly right. They knew how tough the competition was among all the schools and they knew how scary for a mother to compete with all the enterprise owners who copied Cornel to build their own business. My boys and I are like pulling each other to climb up a steep cliff. The rope which connects us is the love from our hearts. Now I have pulled Kang and Chia up to where I longed badly for them to be for twenty five years, and Kang and Chia have pulled me up to the top of my career. Through all those years, the splendid schools established by the land developers and investors opened and closed, I am very proud that Cornel is the only one that has stayed on its feet. In fact, it does not only survive but thrives. Now I can say that I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept my faith. As a Christian, I have to thank the Lord for His mighty power which took me through all the challenges.
Yes, where there is a will, there is a way.