The line was out of the gym doors for the first Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Family and Community Night April 12 at Batesville Primary School.

The event was planned by the parents of students enrolled in the program, now in kindergarten and first grade. Janie Linkel-Owens, a mother of two DLI students, explained, “We want to network and support each other as students, families, schools, companies and community.”

The evening opened with a few announcements. Linkel-Owens encouraged the families to attend an Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis Chinese Language and Culture Fair April 14. She pointed out students will get to practice their new language at a local business soon. Izzy’s at Hillcrest co-owner Adam Israel told her he will offer a menu in Chinese “as soon as the weather turns nice and he can open the patio. He’s planning on doing sushi.”

A parents’ directory was being created that night so they can communicate about homework, resources and other topics their children have in common.

Representatives of four area companies briefly discussed their dealings with China.

Hillenbrand director of communications and public affairs Tory Flynn reported the company has a major presence in China. “As we operate in a globally dynamic market, it’s really important” to have language skills. She supports the BPS program “based on our manufacturing footprint.” After visiting about seven activity stations, Hillenbrand global learning and development manager Ashley Glaub said, “This is fantastic. I think about my daughter’s future and what a wonderful opportunity for her.” Addison will start the program in the fall.

Procter & Gamble purchasing manager Kendra Rienschield told attendees, “Being a global company, we have a lot of connections to China.” About 1,000 employees work there and P&G does $5 billion in business in that country annually. “China is one of the top 10 markets, so it’s very important to us.” When working in China, she uses translators and phone apps to communicate.

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