Dancing, singing, amazing cultural performances and ethnic cuisine marked the Year of the Rooster at the annual EF Academy New York Lunar New Year celebration. Students and faculty were ‘wowed’ by the amazing show put on by students from China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The show began with greetings from school Headmaster Dr. Brian Mahoney and President of the Student Council, Yun-Wen (Sarah) Chen. Dr. Mahoney remarked that many of the traits brought forth by the year of the rooster, including strong communication, punctuality, and power of impressions – are traits that represent the students and culture of EF Academy, with students coming to our campus from over 70 countries around the world. Ms. Chen welcomed the student body and talked about the importance of the celebration for the countries celebrating, and after the welcome, the curtain opened to an extraordinary showcase of talent and excitement for the next hour.
IBY2 student, Chiao-Hsin (Cindy) Lin was the Director of this year’s show. For Chiao-Hsin, the annual performance is a labor of love. She is currently finishing her third year at EF Academy and has been an integral part of the performance each year. This year, she wanted to take on a leadership role and saw great opportunity to put her own stamp on the show. The hard work began many months ago with meetings, rehearsals, choreography lessons and coordination with each country performing in the show. It was hard work that took up a lot of time, but in the end was worth the final product.
Ms. Lin began the Lunar New Year show by singing a duet with Wei-Chih Hu, also an IBY2 student of Taiwan. She then introduced the performance with a speech explaining the importance of the cultural tradition for many people around the world, and many of the students attending EF Academy. She also spoke of the hard work put in by many who contributed to the show, including artwork on the walls and around the school building, managing the house, working backstage, preparing the food, and contributing to the performances by each country.
After Ms. Lin’s introduction, the show began with her native Taiwan kicking off the performance with traditional song and dance sung and played by talented musicians who have been performing together in school for several months. Thailand combined traditional cultural clothing and dance with a modern pop song and wove the two together. Korea performed to “K-pop” and Vietnam was fortunate to have several performances including a traditional cultural game and a solo performance by one of the students. China finished the show with their traditional flair, and a song in Mandarin.
When asked about the importance of the Lunar New Year to her personally, Ms. Lin commented: “It warms my heart when I get to celebrate the Lunar New Year with all of you because we are all students that are away from home, and an event like this is just what we need to feel the sense of belonging and to ease the homesickness we all have when celebrating in a foreign country.” Ms. Lin was very thankful for the support of the student body – the group performed to two sold out audiences in the theater. She was also thankful for the support of the administration and her advisers, who helped her to prepare for the responsibility of leadership.
EF Academy celebrates the Lunar New Year each year with a show directed and performed by our diverse student body. After the performance, students are treated to Bubble Tea and plenty of ethnic cuisine from the region to celebrate the holiday. The Lunar New Year show is advised by Dr. Huong Tran, IB Vietnamese Literature teacher and Biao Cai, IB Chinese Literature teacher.