On Saturday, February 2nd, our first event for the day was the Chinese New Year Celebration put on by the Chinese Academy of Cleveland (CAoC) at that took place in the late morning at Shaker Heights Middle School. CAoC’s mission is “to promote Chinese culture and teaching Chinese language to our next generation” and its goal is “to foster an environment where not only are children building a strong foundation through speaking, listening, reading, and writing Chinese, but also truly enjoy learning!” CAoC largely serves children from pre-K through middle school, although there are also adult classes.
When we arrived, we introduced ourselves to Ms. Grace Lin, Board Member and Community Outreach coordinator, who thanked Ms. Margaret W. Wong for sponsoring this event and for her ongoing support of CAoC. She then introduced us to her daughter, Miss Sabrina Fadel, who shadowed our Mr. Gordon Landefeld at one time, as well as Mr. Tim Cheng, the CAoC principal. Later, at the start of the program, we would be introduced as special guests and representatives of Margaret W. Wong and Associates, LLC.
We also got to meet Mr. Justin Lee, Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago. Later, during the proceeds, Mr. Lee addressed the attendees, both in Chinese and English, in order to remind us that 2019 is the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act between Taiwan and the United States which is based on a mutual desire for peace and freedom. With a smile, Mr. Lee concluded by saying that he was present because it was highly unlikely that a lot of people will be able to visit Taiwan so he was bringing Taiwan to them!
Mr. Liao Kung Ching, Vice President of CAoC, and Mr. Chao-Hsu Yao, Chairman of the CAoC Board emceed the event and kicked off the celebration by calling forth a Lion Dance, followed by the youngest CAoC students taking part in a couple of delightful exercises including the recitation of the alphabet in Chinese. Other vignettes were a “cup dance,” where the participants were seated at a table and used cups to make rhythm, and a special tap dance by Miss Ruth Simon.
Along the way, everyone had a good time watching a short movie produced by and starring administrators. The goal was for audience members to point out inconsistencies from scene to scene (i.e. in one scene a person was wearing glasses and in the next scene he was not) in order to win prizes. Another contest took place when Ms. Piwen “Wenny” Ku and Ms. Kelly Lo, both CAoC teachers, acted out charades in order for the children to guess the entities that they were trying to convey.
Finally, all the youngsters took to the stage to perform a closing number in song celebrating the New Year.
In addition to the program itself, Ms. Jasmine Rocco, a Vice President and Dean at CAoC, conducted an ongoing raffle for many neat prizes like a Chinese tea set. To be sure, there were games and activities for the children like like Yo-Yo-ing, paper cutting art, ping pong, and calligraphy. The morning closed with all of us enjoying a terrific Asian lunch prepared by local culinary establishments and community members.