In between rain showers on the misty morning of February 12, first graders were the splash of color and the spark of song as they paraded past their fellow Lower School students for Lovett’s annual Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year parade. “Lunar New Year kicks off on the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon and ends on the next full moon fifteen days later. Unlike under the Gregorian calendar, with New Year’s Day always falling on January 1, Lunar New Year depends on cycles of the moon.”1
Chinese Art and Cultural Resources Teacher Kristie Walden, who has been at Lovett for over 15 years, looks forward to spearheading the effort in preparing the first graders to participate in the parade and teaching them Chinese songs and dances each year. This year, she had to become creative in figuring out how to safely allow the students to participate in the right-of-passage Lovett dragon parade! The answer: an outdoor parade and hula hoops! With the help of the Fine Arts Costume Department, each dragon was retrofitted with several hula hoops so students could carry the costume while being socially distanced under the dragon. Kristie shared that it is an honor and a privilege to be able to teach these young students about her culture and that it brings a lot of joy into her life. Recently she ran into a parent of a Lovett alum, who touchingly told Kristie that their child’s interest in the Chinese language and culture started at the Lovett Lower School - to which Kristie responded “my interest in teaching Chinese language and culture is all because of your children.”
Kristie said that it would not have been possible without several colleagues rooting her on and shared that she feels so fortunate to have such a supportive community around her: Quincy Waidelich in the Campus Store helped in securing 30 hula hoops, Susan McCluskey in Fine Arts helping modify the dragon costumes with hula hoops, Lower School art teacher Leah Decker for creating banners and flags for each child to wave that could not fit under the dragon this year, and all of the first grade teachers for helping and enabling the “show to go on!”
Along with the Lunar New Year parade first graders were treated to a shadow puppet show of traditional Chinese stories and legends. Throughout the school year, Kristie works division-wide to collaborate with and help support teachers in incorporating Chinese language, art, and culture into their curriculum. Some favorite memories that Lovett alumni still reminisce about are Kristie’s wonderful cooking classes - some have even shared that her fried rice and dumpling recipes are still a go-to choice when cooking!