OXFORD, Miss. — Thirty American teenagers are learning to speak Mandarin Chinese during an intensive summer program at the University of Mississippi.

Now in its 11th year, Mississippi StarTalk is a federally funded program for students who will be high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.

A university news release says language classes are taught at three levels, and students learn about Chinese culture. Those completing the program receive academic credit for high school or college.

Students come from 15 states. Instructors are from Hutchison Middle School in Memphis, Tennessee; Isadore Newman High School in New Orleans; and Framingham State University in Massachusetts.

Mary Entrekin is a Level 1 student from Gulfport, Mississippi. She says she plans use a tutor to maintain her language skills because her high school does not offer Mandarin Chinese.

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