Mandarin Immersion Senior Profile: Jinji Davee

The Capistrano Valley Class of 2024 will include the first ever graduates of the Mandarin Immersion Program. CUSD Insider asked the seniors to reflect on their time with the program and share what they have planned for after graduation.

Jinji Davee

Jinji Davee of the Mandarin Immersion Program at Capistrano Valley High.
Photo by Steven Georges/CUSD Insider


When did you start in the Mandarin Immersion Program?

1st grade-2012

Why did you join the Mandarin Immersion Program?

My parents wanted me to become fluent in the language of my home nation and fully immerse myself in my cultural background. Considering my Chinese heritage, I wondered why I was learning Japanese in kindergarten. My father put my name in the lottery when he learned about the upcoming Mandarin Immersion Program in our district. They were even open to letting me start kindergarten over, proving how dedicated they were to helping me learn Chinese.

What are your plans after you graduate from CUSD?

My goal is to continue my education by attending a four-year university and concentrating in hospitality management. In this industry, event planning and hotel management are my main areas of focus.

What other activities were you involved with in high school?

I am a part of our tennis team, which has won two consecutive league titles. In addition, I am involved in the performing arts, where I am an essential member of the backstage team, namely the costume crew. This duty comprises the actual work of sewing clothes from scratch in addition to choosing and designing outfits for our plays.

My involvement in the Girl Scouts, which I started in kindergarten, is proof of my dedication to community service. I sell more than 500 boxes of cookies a year as the troop’s top performer. Currently, I am diligently working towards the attainment of my Gold Award, focusing on raising awareness about lesser-known contributions of Asian Americans to America as part of the broader initiative to combat Asian hate.

I participate actively in a number of clubs, such as the Chinese Culture Club and the Photography Club, in addition to my artistic and physical endeavors. As the training chair on the board of the CVHS Task Force Against Racism and Inequity, I am able to showcase my commitment to promoting diversity and battling racism. In my role, I support the goal of fostering awareness and eliminating injustices in our community by helping to create and deliver presentations on various prejudices during our weekly task force meetings.

What was your favorite part of the Mandarin Immersion Program experience?

I have a particular place in my heart for the Mandarin Program, mostly because of the deep connections it has given me and the sense of community it fosters. Many of my closest friends are also participants in the Mandarin Program, and I acknowledge that if it weren’t for our common participation in this program, our paths might not have met. The friendships that are developed as a result of this language and cultural project are priceless. Furthermore, I value the program’s dedication to promoting cultural awareness and community harmony, which is demonstrated by activities like the potluck on Chinese Culture Night and other interesting events planned by the program. These events not only deepen our comprehension of Chinese culture but also help to build a lively and encouraging community

What aspect of the Mandarin Immersion Program surprised you the most?

I went into the program with very low expectations, and what I discovered along the way surprised me in a good way. The most striking of these discoveries was how surprisingly close-knit our group was. It was especially amazing how strong our friendship is and how much we support one other no matter what happens. This unity has given me a great sense of hope and strengthened my conviction that, when we work together, nothing is truly impossible. We have a group dynamic that is similar to a close-knit family, united by a common goal of providing each other with unwavering support and reaffirming our unwavering commitment to one another.

How has the Mandarin Immersion Program prepared you for life after graduation?

My participation in this community has instilled within me the conviction that I can carry forward skills into college and beyond. I am equipped to demonstrate unwavering dedication to my beliefs and serve as a reliable source for those who place their trust in me. This immersion experience has taught me the belief that I can accomplish any challenge I set my mind to.

How will you use your Mandarin knowledge in your daily life?

My ability to communicate clearly and meaningfully with visitors and coworkers can greatly increase my effectiveness in the hospitality industry. My ability to speak languages allows me to establish a welcoming and comfortable environment for people. My knowledge of Chinese customs and culture is also a great advantage since it allows me to accommodate the unique requirements and preferences of Chinese visitors, improving their stay overall and promoting a feeling of hospitality that cuts through language boundaries.

What advice would you give other students considering joining the Mandarin Immersion Program?

One piece of advice I would provide is to stay optimistic despite the difficulties involved with learning Chinese. Recognize the inherent challenges that can cause frustration, but keep your attention fixed on the ultimate benefits that are still to come. Although the path may be difficult, mastery of Mandarin will pay you greatly in the long term. It is also advised that you continue to practice and improve your Mandarin once you graduate. Think of it as a lifetime ability that, once developed, gains from regular maintenance. If you let your competence deteriorate over time, it could affect your capacity to use Mandarin successfully. As a result, the secret is to stick with the language and make sure it will always be useful in a variety of situations.

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