Video+Story: Mesita ECDC Mandarin Students Welcome the Year of the Dog

Kindergarteners and first-grade students from Mesita Elementary School embraced Chinese culture Friday during their Year of the Dog celebration in the school’s multipurpose center.

The Mesita ECDC students showcased the Chinese culture by performing folk songs and traditional dances during the Chinese New Year celebration. The Year of the Dog is one of 12 Chinese zodiac. Those born in 2018 and every 12 years before are considered part of this animal sign.

“Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year – one of the most important holidays in China,” Mandarin teacher Sonia Chang said. “I wanted to start an annual celebration to commemorate the holiday and show parents what the students are learning in class and all the hard work they do every day.”

Drawings of dragons, pandas, paper lanterns and other images of the Chinese New Year covered the walls of the multipurpose, showcasing the students’ artwork and their knowledge of culture from their new language.

Parent Miriam Soto enjoyed watching her daughter Katelyn Romero perform and seeing her newfound love for the Chinese language.

“It’s very exciting. She likes to listen to Chinese music at home,” she said. “I like they are celebrating not only the language but also the culture. It’s great they are giving the students this opportunity. My daughter definitely loves it.”

Students performed class by class, kindergarten in the morning and first-graders in the afternoon. The Mandarin program soon will be extending to include the fourth-grade.

“We are very excited about extending the program,” assistant principal Julie Chavez said. “One of our goals is that our students are both academically and linguistically successful because these are skills that are need for our fast-growing global economy.”

Kindergarten student Karen Rivas wore traditional Chinese garb to celebrate the occasion.

“It’s great to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” she said. “I like to learn to speak Chinese, but my favorite part about is learning new songs. I like the song about the red envelope.”

Student Iker Herrera’s class wore dog hats for their performance to honor the year’s zodiac animal.

“I like dogs,” he said. “It’s good to celebrate because my family came, and we danced.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD