This week, our K-12 student community gathered in Panther Plaza and the Lower School courtyard for celebrations of food, music, languages, and the color red, all in honor of Lunar New Year. Celebrated widely across many Asian cultures, Lunar New Year is an annual 15-day festival that begins with the new moon, and is a time for feasting and spending time with friends and family. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, in accordance with the Chinese zodiac, and dragons were in abundance everywhere on campus.
Lower and Middle School
The highlight of the Lower School celebration was a vibrant and colorful parade by the K-5 students, to the applause and encouragement of the Middle School audience gathered along the parade route. Spearheaded by Mandarin Teacher Shu-Chen Lin with the support of specialty and grade-level teachers, the parade and courtyard celebration was a true multicultural event—one that symbolizes the spirit of global awareness cultivated at San Domenico. “There was so much joy and laughter,” remarked Ms. Lin, who organized the parade and activities that followed. “Celebrating this holiday together as a community was special, since I grew up with these traditions, songs, and food. My favorite part was watching middle schoolers cheering for their Lower School buddies as they paraded past.”
The Lower School student parade was a riot of color and creativity. Leading the procession, the kindergarteners wore red headbands with hand-colored dragons, followed by first graders displaying their dragon puppy puppets. Next, second graders spun their handmade drums, while third graders danced along in spectacular lion head costumes made from cardboard boxes. The fourth and fifth graders finished off the parade in style, displaying handmade lanterns complete with LED lights created in science class. Musical accompaniment was provided by students in Music Teacher Steve Pierce’s drum ensemble. At the conclusion of the parade, the entire K-8 community gathered for a sing-a-long of “Gong Xi, Gong Xi” in Mandarin, an upbeat and happy standard associated with Lunar New Year. Immediately afterwards, Middle School students found their younger buddies and proceeded into the Lower School courtyard for a multicultural food fest. Delicacies and treats were provided by eighth graders hosting ‘food trucks,’ made from cardboard during art class with Art Teacher Sally Houston.
Not to be outdone, the Asian Student Association (ASA) hosted a Lunar New Year Palooza in Panther Plaza, featuring lantern-making activities, trying your hand at calligraphy, playing a rousing game of mahjong, carrying on the tradition of sharing mandarin oranges, enjoying boba tea and other seasonal treats including white rabbit candies, and making bubbles in the welcomed sunshine after heavy rains. The ASA and our international students were thrilled to share one of their most beloved holidays with our entire community. AP Mandarin and Mandarin 1, 2, and 3 students headed off campus to San Francisco for a walking tour of the city’s Chinatown, and an opportunity to practice their language skills in shops and restaurants.
Thank you to Ms. Lin for your leadership and inspiration, and to teachers Shirley Li, Liz Miranda, Sally Houston, Susan Turner, Cyndi Trapanese, and Steve Pierce for creating this special event to honor Lunar New Year.