Celebrating the Lunar New Year

SWBOCES Students, Staff at Pocantico Commemorate Year of the Rat

Students in the Southern Westchester BOCES program at Pocantico Hills School celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year last Friday with a dragon dance, dumplings and noisemakers.

Teacher Karen Walker’s class took the lead in the festivities to celebrate the Year of the Rat. Students made a dragon out of yellow cloth, cardboard boxes, paper, tinsel, streamers and other materials. Three of them wore the costume and paraded up and down the hallway while another classmate and a staff person played homemade drums.

Student Kmari Thompson gave a presentation with some facts about the Lunar New Year. He wore a red silk embroidered jacket and a traditional bamboo hat, and he stood in front of a blackboard he and his classmates had created. They had researched different aspects of Chinese New Year celebrations, including zodiac signs, Chinese New Year greetings, and holiday customs.


“Everybody took a little part,” said Maureen Vaughan-Shea, a teaching assistant. “Everybody chipped in.”

Other staff members who helped were Liz Lopez, a teaching assistant, and secretary Kaye Jackson. Ms. Walker provided everyone with red shirts.

Kmari, who was born in the last Year of the Rat in 2008, made the dragon’s nose and painted the drums for the event. He liked when Ms. Vaughan-Shea used Flight Tracker to show students her son and daughter-in-law’s progress as they flew to Taiwan to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

“That part really fascinated me and I felt that I was really doing Chinese New Year,” said Kmari, who is from Yonkers.

“I had a very good experience,” he added. “The food was great.”

Josh Munoz, 10, was one of the students who did the dragon dance. He initially was nervous, but he felt better after getting a fortune that read as follows: “Confidence isn’t something that you get. It’s something that you are.”

He also enjoyed the food. “It’s not just good,” he said of the dumplings, Korean-style teriyaki stir-fry udon noodles and fortune cookies. “It’s amazing.”


Lunar New Year Party