Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Walnut Elementary DLI Students Ring in Lunar New Year

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—Over 300 students performed skits, poems, and songs, entirely in Mandarin, during the 6th annual Lunar New Year celebration at Walnut Elementary.

Kindergartens through 5th grade children are part of the school’s Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program that offers unique and innovative instruction in both English and Mandarin.

Each grade level took a turn on stage during the energetic program presented for schoolmates on Thursday and for their families on Friday.

“The students put on a spectacular show!” shared teacher Krystin Wong.

Kinder girls sang and danced to “Jasmine Flowers” and boys performed the “Happy New Year” song.

First graders presented “New Year Cake” an interpretive dance to wish higher achievements to the audience.

In Mandarin, “cake” means promotion or achieving heights. As the first day of New Year is also the first day of spring, the song “Walking on Sunshine” was in order, Wong said.

Second graders said they would “have a great attitude” and “never give up” in the new year through the bilingual song “Try Everything.”

Third graders presented a 15-day New Year chant incorporating the importance of family reunion, couplets, and the Lantern Festival.

Fourth graders continued to communicate traditions by explaining the importance of the color red, the family feast, and the lion dance.  They also performed a rap song, “Report to the New Year!”

Last, but not least, fifth graders performed a skit to the legend of Chinese Valentine’s Day.  The story explained how Valentine’s Day was originated in China.

A finale lion dance was performed by three Walnut Elementary students along with volunteer members of San Gabriel Valley Chinese Cultural Association.

Beginning in Kindergarten, the DLI goal is to give students the opportunity to become bi-literate and bi-cultural.  The program is also available for sixth and seventh graders at South Pointe Middle School.