Chantrell Creek rings in Chinese New Year

Kindergarten students perform a dragon dance for Chinese New Year on Friday at Chantrell Creek Elementary. - Sarah Massah photo
Kindergarten students perform a dragon dance for Chinese New Year on Friday at Chantrell Creek Elementary.
— image credit: Sarah Massah photo

Chantrell Creek Elementary kicked off the Year of the Horse with a bang – and a dance or two.

Parents, teachers and students came together last week to transform the school into a sea of red and gold with Chinese New Year decorations hanging from the ceiling and intricate vests worn by kindergarten students.

“Moms and dads and volunteers all came together to do this,” school principal Deborah Thorvaldson said, noting 100 parent volunteers worked around the clock to cook up 4,000 dumplings for the event.

“We have more Mandarin families than ever, and we wanted to celebrate that and Chinese New Year.”

A loud gong strike Friday afternoon signaled the start of the school’s assembly, which began with the kindergarten students’ dragon dance. A deep and steady drum beat echoed off the walls of the gymnasium as the students performed the dance carrying a handmade dragon over their heads.

“We’re creating magic,” Thorvaldson said. “I think what is so special is that we’re coming together as one to celebrate a different culture, and we’re just so enriched by having the Mandarin families with us.

“Everyone came out for the assembly.”

Individual student performances followed with the Grade 7 students closing the assembly with a lively lion dance.

The packed gymnasium erupted with applause as the students jumped up on crates and danced to the beat of the drums.

Parent volunteer Dean Donnelly – dubbed the “dragon man” – said that the Chinese New Year was the perfect way to incorporate multiculturalism into the students’ learning at a young age.

He noted that many of the parents have been looking for a way to get involved and the Chinese New Year festivities created an opportunity to do so.

“These parents want to help out and get involved, they just don’t know how. So that was our main goal,” he said.

“We’ve got an increasing population from Asia and this is the way we can get them really involved.”



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