Hilton Sampson ’25 will represent the United States at the Chinese Bridge World Competition in Beijing this fall, after recently winning the DFW competition. Hilton also earned 3rd place in the National Chinese Speech Competition earlier in April.
“During the months of the preparation, Hilton never complained or used the preparation as an excuse to get out of other responsibilities,” said Dr. CJ Chiang, Hilton’s advisor and Chinese teacher. “I would not only like to praise Hilton for winning, but also for his time commitment, stress management, and consistent hard-working routines and habits that St. Mark’s and his parents have cultivated.”
At the DFW competition, Hilton had to give a speech in Chinese and perform a talent rooted in Chinese culture. For his talent, Hilton performed with the diabolo or ‘Chinese Yo-Yo’ (空竹). Austin Williams 22’, who also performed with the diabolo when he competed in the Chinese Bridge in 2020, helped train and mentor Hilton.
“Hilton’s a natural,” Austin said. “He taught himself through YouTube videos before I even had the chance to work with him, and I was shocked at how well he had the basics down. At the beginning of our training, it was really just drilling tricks — I looked for small, technique-driven things to point out, and he worked on consistency at home.”
Chinese Bridge is sponsored by the Chinese Language Council, or Hanban. The competition has become an important platform for students of various countries to learn Chinese language and culture. At the World Competition in Beijing, Hilton will be assessed on broader areas, such as his Chinese language skills, knowledge of China’s national conditions, Chinese cultural skills, and comprehensive learning abilities.
“There is so much you can learn from other people, especially those who think differently than you,” Hilton said. When thinking about visiting China for the international competition, Hilton added, “I think that interacting with new people completely in Chinese will be exhilarating. I also really like Chinese architecture and design, so I hope I will be able to see many historical landmarks and monuments.”