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(Posted 11:30 a.m., Feb. 8)
St. Clare School community celebrates Chinese New Year
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Bu Peng entertains the audience during Chinese New Year celebration at St. Clare School on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

In a meeting of cultures the St. Clare School community in South Fallingbrook celebrated the pending arrival of the Chinese New Year on Saturday with a combination of entertainment, education and delicious food.

While the Chinese New Year doen't officially arrive until February 19, the students, staff and parents of the school's International Languages program couldn't wait to ring in the Year of the Goat in an enthusiastic celebration of song and food.

The International Languages program was launched by the Ottawa Catholic School Board's continuing education department in the summer of 2011 with classes in Madarin Chinese and Spanish for students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8. Enrollment that first year was just over 50 students.

As evidence of the growing diversity of the local community, that number has swelled to over 150 students in just four years. The program now offers classes for high school students.

The classes take place every Saturday during the school year between 9:30 a.m. and noon and are open to any student living in the east end.

Saturday's celebration was kicked off with a Dragon Dance and included performances by students in the program and progfessional singers from Ottawa's Chinese community. The highlight of the concert was a performance by the Madarin language teachers.

While most of the action was happening on the stage, the back of the St. Clare gym was lined with exhibits including a caligraphy station where individuals could try their hand at writing Chinese characters; a Chinese food game; a Chinese horoscope station; and a display of important Chinese inventions such as the compass, porcelain, the mechanical clock and gun powder.

While the main purpose of the International Languages Program is to teach Chinese and Spanish, program coordinator Yong Lai Feng says students also learn a great deal about the Chinese and Spanish cultures.

To learn more about the program visit www.ocsb.com.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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