International Students Celebrate Chinese New Year


February 23, 2018



The Lunar New Year is an important holiday in many Asian countries. In these countries, school is dismissed for 2 – 3 weeks and families spend time traveling to see relatives. Since our students are here, during this important time, we try to provide some special events to recognize their holiday.

Last Thursday, February 15, marked the beginning of the New Year season. Traditionally, this is the time family eat a meal together. The students of the International Club met in the library – to eat homemade dumplings (like wontons) and glutinous rice cakes served in a special sauce. The meal was prepared by some of the International Club officers and additional helpers. Mrs. Velez assisted and made her home available to prepare the meal. Following the meal, students enjoyed watching some of the Chinese New Year Gala on a big screen. Thanks to translator, Derek Li, those of us who do not know Mandarin were able to enjoy the program as well.

The following Sunday,  30 international students loaded a bus, to attend the Annual Chinese New Year Festival in Santa Rosa.  Students enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet and entertainment performed by local citizens of Chinese descent.  

On Wednesday, February 21, students from the ESL Language Support class made one of their bi-monthly visit with their speaking partners at the Healdsburg Senior Living Center. On this visit, students used a slideshow on their computer to tell their partner about how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in their country. The students gave their partner a couplet to hang on their door and wrote the name of their partner in their home language.  

Students from the ESL Advanced class demonstrated their ability to compare and contrast by writing essays explaining how Christmas and Lunar New Year are the same and different.  The essays will be posted in the hall of the Administration Building.  

At Rio, we celebrate the diverse background of our student body and ESL director Jill Richards makes homage to home cultures a priority in class, as well as learning about American culture. As part of the English Language program, students practice writing, speaking, and performing in English both to other English Language Learners as well as local American students. Over the course of time, students find their TOEFL and other English proficiency exam scores increased greatly due to the practice and time spent in understanding the language. To learn more about Rio’s international student program and English Language school, please click here.


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