A Chinese New Year assembly at a Laguna Niguel elementary school Monday became a much more personal celebration because the songs and even a lion dance were performed by the school's Chinese immersion students.
Capistrano Unified School District launched the county's first public school Chinese immersion program earlier this year at Bergeson Elementary. The program is currently made up of kindergarteners and first graders.
In 2011, trustees decided to expand its Two-Way dual immersion program -- previously only offered in Spanish -- to include Mandarin, as long as the district could keep costs to $15,000. Parents, however, have pulled together to raise money for additional supplies.
Monday's assembly, for example, was underwritten by a parent.
The Friends of the Mandarin Immersion Program has its next big fundraiser, a Chinese New Year celebration for adults on Saturday, March 9 at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. For more information, see the parent group's website.
Some facts about this year's Chinese New Year:
- It's the year of the snake
- It's celebrated for 15 days
- It's the longet and most important of the traditional Chinese holidays
- In the lion dance, a lion throws lettuce to the onlookers, which they keep for good luck
(Happy Chinese New Year!)