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WMHS Mandarin Heritage Club Presents the Year of the Dragon

Lunar Year Celebrations Occur in all GCSD Schools

Lions and dragons and culture, oh my! Dr. Yang and the WMHS Mandarin Heritage Club put on a dazzling spectacle of cultural celebration with a performance to honor the Lunar New Year. The first of several assemblies took place on Tuesday at Woodlands Middle High School. The delightful and meaningful stories were told through music, movement, and costumes. Both students and teachers took the stage as performers - all dressed in breathtaking colorful attire and costumes. Cultural education was an important part of the preparation and design of the program. “It’s a wonderful way to both celebrate and learn about different cultures and ethnicities within our own diverse community,” said Dr. Yang. “This year, I wanted to include more education around the program about all Mandarin speaking countries, covering everything from political systems and religions to geography and regions.”

Woodlands students were at the heart of it all, taking leadership roles both behind the scenes and on the stage. Jake - a tenth grader and a featured lion and emcee of the program - has been in the club since the eighth grade and also takes Mandarin in the WHS World Language program. He shared that putting on this show every year takes a lot of work. “We pretty much start planning for the next year right after the show is over,” he said. “There’s a good amount of research that is done on the different provinces, traditions, costumes, music and dance choreographies. This year I learned a lot about Tibet. I think it’s important to be introduced to other cultures and customs.” Kailani, also in tenth grade, is a dancer outside school and has studied ballet, hip-hop, and African dance. “I’ve never done this type of dance before, and I think it’s fun to learn different styles of dancing,” she said. “The first time I saw this assembly as an audience member, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.” For twin sisters, Jaida and Jordan, this is their first year in the Mandarin Club. “Being a part of the club has been a life-changing experience,” said Jordan. “I really enjoy learning about the culture and telling its story through dance.” And, while the Lunar New Year performance is a highlight for the club, it’s not the only one. “We went to the China Institute Gallery in New York City in December on the winter solstice,” said Jaida. “It was an amazing trip, definitely one of my favorites.”

For the first time in her seven years as club advisor, Dr. Yang and her students took the show on the road this week with performances at LFJ, Highview, and RJB. These performances  held more meaning than perhaps anyone could foresee. Returning to their former schools was a poignant and significant moment as they had the opportunity to see their former teachers and to educate younger students through an interactive program with performances and trivia questions. Ms. Dupree, School Psychologist at Highview Elementary, watched in wonder. “It’s so special to have our former students come back here to share what they’ve learned and show how they’ve grown,” she said. “I’m so proud of them.”

As for the young students, they were engaged, enthusiastic, and eager to express their excitement. When asked by a club member which performance they liked the best, the overwhelming response was, “All of them!” 

Want to see what it looked like? Go to our social media for photos: 

 

http://tinyurl.com/RJB-Lunar-NY http://tinyurl.com/WHS-Lunar-NY