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      Class offered by JWCC is helping local businessman overseas

      John Wood Community College offers Mandarin Chinese.

      The United States and China average about $45 billion dollars worth of imports and exports between the two countries on a monthly basis.

      John Wood Community College in Quincy is hoping a course offered last year will continue to grow, just like the trade between the two world super powers.

      The course is in Mandarin Chinese and one Quincy business man is taking advantage of what the community college is offering.

      John Griffard has developed several products over the course of the last 20 years and now he's hoping this latest career move will help him develop more business contacts and grow his company in mainland China.

      "I've been traveling to China for eight years, probably been there 30 times. I've always been very fortunate in the language, and I would pick some up. But when I came home, I would go for another two months and I would forget everything. So when I found out that John Wood was offering a Mandarin Chinese as a course, I immediately called the school to sign up," Griffard said.

      Griffard was one of 14 students in the Chinese I class taught by Cindy Williams. The class covered conversation, listening skills, writing and learning about the Chinese culture.

      "I feel like my students, they now have the basic fundamental skills to go on. Even though they won't have me as their teacher in the future. I feel like they will be able to continue studying Chinese, enjoying the learning of Chinese. So I'm very confident that they have already learned the basic skills. I feel like my class was very successful," Williams said.

      Griffard said he didn't know what to expect when he enrolled in the class. But he added the course has benefited him and his Chinese business partners as he tries to bridge the gap between the two languages.