INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Students at the International School of Indiana ushered in the Chinese New Year Friday morning with costumes, performances and of course a dragon parade.
The annual celebration is one of the school’s largest assemblies of the year.
“With the Mandarin program we have here with the full immersion, we celebrate in a very exuberant and large way,” said Head of School Elizabeth Head.
75 students who are part of the Mandarin track took to the stage to perform songs and dances that represent different aspects of Chinese culture.
The performances are the culmination of months of planning and rehearsing between teachers and students.
This Lunar New Year 2020 rings in the Year of the Rat, which officially began January 25.
“Students have been studying the Year of the Rat, linguistically and historically through out the year to present what they’ve learned,” said Head.
“The rat represents wisdom and beauty and that they can be tempted by money,” said 5th grader Ellie Maitz.
Local students celebrate Chinese New Year
Students were gearing up until celebrations kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with many busy rehearsing and getting costumes ready, all while speaking Mandarin with teachers, and to each other.
“70% of our students are from Indiana and have no language background, but we also have 54 nationalities in that other 30%. So when you bring all of those together here, the cultural respect and tolerance is something we do extremely well,” added Head.
Since 1994, the International School of Indiana has grown to 600 students from three-years-old through grade 12.
It’s the only school in Indiana that offers all students access to International Baccalaureate programming and language immersion opportunities in three languages – Spanish, French and Mandarin.