Having a diverse school community means that our students have myriad opportunities to connect with and learn from students who come from backgrounds different from their own. Today was a perfect example of how diverse perspectives bring about new knowledge and closer connections. Because today, on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a group of Mid-Pen students from China taught us all about the traditions their families have observed for generations.
Earlier this week, students got together with ESL teacher, Cory, to organize their efforts for the celebration, which included vibrantly decorating the school with the colors and characters associated with the Chinese New Year. They also collaborated with Activities Coordinator, Julia, to plan a school meal consisting of traditional Chinese food—well, as traditional as we could get in our area.
Given the importance of the day to so many of our students, and the learning opportunity for the rest of the student body, we decided to alter our schedule to make lunch long enough to include a student-led PowerPoint presentation that highlighted the food, mythology, games, entertainment, and taboos associated with Chinese New Year. Ben Chen (’19), Davey Feng (’19), and Dorothy Li (’20) did a fabulous job at stepping up in front of the entire school to share their home culture with their peers and teachers.
The idea for the day came about, in part, because some of our students were looking for a way to connect with their homes in China while living abroad in the Bay Area. This yearning for a bit of home is especially strong given that celebrating Chinese New Year is a family event. We hope that celebrating with their Mid-Pen family brought our students from China at least a small measure of what they would experience back home in China. We know for certain that the generosity and cultural insight they shared with our community brought joy and knowledge to our school as we go together into a new year. Happy New Year!