Posted on January 29, 2023
Busy weekends with admissions events in full swing -- assessments of applicants, parent information sessions, and campus tours. During my parent sessions, among the many things I share are the traditions that we celebrate and hold us together as a learning community. At the preschool and elementary, thereʻs the Welcome BBQ, Spooktivity, Grandparentsʻ Day, the Christmas performance, for example, and then thereʻs the cultural celebration of the lunar new year often called Chinese New Year. To the extent possible, we have had the Gee Yung Society share their talents with us. This past Tuesday, two lion performers with elaborate costume heads danced at the entrance of Wilcox Hall, gestures imitating a lion, bowing respectfully before taking their first steps into the office building.
The musicians (percussionists on cymbals and drums) remained at the outdoor stage beating out a loud, steady rhythm to ward off bad spirits while the lions took off left and right towards the classrooms. Itʻs easy to succumb to the rhythm, the beats thumping counter to your own heartbeat.
The lion dancers were exceptional! They seemed to understand the audience of young children.The lion performers were playful and teased surprise and squeals of laughter from the students as they "ate" the lisee (red envelopes), nuzzled up against the lines of children waiting outside their classrooms, and paued here and there to bat their large eyes or wag their tails. It was easy to suspend reality and allow imagination to experience these magical moments of pure delight.
One of my favorite moments during the lion dancing is seeing the entire preschool and elementary, children and adults altogether, at the courtyard. The atmosphere is even more celebratory, festive, and joyful because we are together in a shared experience. Itʻs when the sense of community is clearly visible and palpable. A week ago we had a similar experience of community when we gathered the students, faculty, and staff for the annual school photo. Though not as festive and fun as Chinese New Year, it was an opportunity to take a family photo.
We wish you a sincere Kung Hei Fat Choy, or in the loose translation of the Cantonese language, Congratulations and Be Prosperous! Gratitude for the rich blessings of our families, children, and friends are in our lives!
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.
photos courtesy of Allanah Slagle, Office of Institutional Advancement