Beforehand, each class learned about Chinese culture and the traditions and meaning behind the Lunar New Year holiday. Mrs. Carissa Reeves, a high school science teacher, also came in and shared her firsthand experience living as a missionary in China for several years. The art class created sculptural paper lanterns, inspired by the last day of Lunar New Year, the lantern festival, and decorated the art room. The culinary class created delicious traditionally-inspired dumplings and rice. On the day of the celebration both classes came together to eat and participate in some activities – answering riddles (a tradition during the lantern festival) and trying some calligraphy in Chinese characters, one of the oldest and most beautiful written languages in existence.
It is so important to build these types of experiences into our school curriculum regularly. One of the downsides of the school system in general is how compartmentalized it is – you learn math in math, music in music, etc. That is not how the real world is. In the real world, all the different subject areas all intertwine and play off of one another: art and food and science and storytelling and music and math all are woven together to create the rich cultures of our world that are a product of the creativity of man – which is ultimately a reflection of the creativity of God. When students can start to see that these areas that they study are not separate, but just different facets of the jewel that creation is, they can actually enjoy and appreciate and understand each separate thing more fully, because they see how it all relates. It comes to life.
– Vicky Ralston, JH/HS Art Teacher