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Draper Journal

Draper Elementary community embraces Chinese culture for Year of the Rabbit

Mar 07, 2023 04:29PM ● By Julie Slama

At Draper Elementary’s Chinese New Year celebration, students share their knowledge of the language and culture with their families. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Draper Elementary Mandarin dual immersion fourth-grader Abi Bakke was excited about the school’s Chinese New Year celebration.

“I’ve practiced with a goblin, a fancy one with pink and green, and other students are part of the dragon dance and they’re under the red dragon that is longer than a car,” she said. “It’s really cool. Dragons and the color red mean good luck and the dragon even has a gold ball inside its mouth.”

The schoolwide celebration was held twice—once for students and once for parents. Traditional Chinese New Year songs and martial arts were performed by schoolchildren of each grade, and the audience was invited to sing, “Gong Xi,” along with them.

Parent Sara Bennion was there to see her children, third-grader Blakely, and fifth-grader Winston, perform. Her oldest, seventh-grader Lucy, studies Chinese at nearby Draper Park Middle.

“Academically, it’s great for them to learn a different language—and to experience a bit of a different culture as they’re doing here,” she said. “I’m excited that they’re able to speak it and carry on conversations. They’ve been at Disney and have talked to people who are so impressed they know the language. We’ve been to authentic Chinese restaurants and they’re able to order. They’re learning the language and are grasping the culture, and both of those will impact their lives.”

For some students, the celebrations carried into their classrooms. Traditional Chinese crafts and artwork hung in the hallway.

Third-grader Sophie Li appreciated learning about tai chi and cutting out a rabbit decoration.

“It’s the Year of the Rabbit, we’ll have good luck all year long,” she said.