February 10th, 2013 marked the beginning of The Year of the Snake (蛇 Shé) in the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. Although in Chinese lore the snake year is commonly considered less propitious than its predecessor (Year of the Dragon), The New Century School rang in the new year in high style. The meteor strikes, nightmare cruises, and olympic athlete scandals that the lunar year commenced with notwithstanding, TNCS honored the snake with weeklong festivities (such as making and eating dumplings, or 饺 jiǎo), culminating with a special performance at Port Discovery on Saturday, February 16th.
This was TNCS’s second annual Port Discovery performance in honor of Chinese New Year, and the primary and elementary students just loved it! The Chinese teachers spent weeks teaching them the songs and poems that made up the program. Chen Laoshi (a.k.a. Charlotte) and Xue Laoshi (a.k.a Cici, or 薛雪) presided over the actual performance, keeping their little red-and-gold-garbed snakes, mice, roosters, dragons, etc. on task. Xue Laoshi says, “I am so proud of all the students. They all did a good job.”
The performance comprised two songs and a poem. Xue Laoshi explains that the first song was the Happy New Year song, sung by the primary students. Next, the primary and elementary students together sang the Chinese Zodiac Song and acted out the characters they were describing. Lastly, the elementary students recited a famous Chinese poem about a snowy landscape. Because the poem is quite long, they read in unison from placards printed with both English phonetic and Chinese characters. The students are clearly making remarkable progress—not only can they speak Mandarin beautifully, but they can also read and write it!