Onward Into the Year of the Dog

 In Craig's Blog, Featured, Student Life

Grey here this morning, but the cloudy ceiling is rising slowly and patches of blue are barely perceptible. The lake’s ice has a February dullness to it; melting underway.

I walked early to the Pinckney Boathouse ostensibly to take a few pictures of the vestiges of our Chinese New Year celebration, but I suspect I went there to think some about why I was so moved by my time at the Boathouse last night.

The night began as an idea hatched over breakfast in Beijing in November. Catherine Zhao’s mom wondered why we didn’t celebrate Chinese New Year at Brewster given its significance in Chinese culture. We decided then and there to make the event happen.

I, for my part, didn’t lift a finger for this event since November – a source of ongoing guilt. A few faculty and staff members, some wonderful parents who came FROM CHINA – Chunzhu Wang (Mike Zhang ’18), Yue Wei (Jonathan Jiang ’18), and Yingxiu Zhao and Hongxia Xin and young daughter Samanatha (Catherine Zhao ’18) – to manage details of dumplings and decorations and the like, did much work. But it was really all kids who did the work and so formidably orchestrated the evening. Pretty amazing. Photos.

I was drawn back to the Boathouse and the vestiges of decoration because the event – the rites of which are designed to carefully usher in spring and the year to come – seemed to signal yet another equally subtle and profound turning point for our community. For in the midst of the singing and dancing and explication of Chinese cultural practices, I was moved by the warmth and sharing, with kids teaching each other, parents and teachers engaged but appropriately on the margins. Deep, joyous learning was happening in real time.

Walking back from the Boathouse, I felt a bubbling of excitement over the coming of spring and all it will entail here.

Onward into the Year of the Dog.

  • Kevin & Gayle Tassinari

    Our daughter Hannah Tassinari (’18) has had the privilege of being Catherine Zhao’s roommate this year(Avery House) and they have made such an incredible friendship and bond! Catherine invited Hannah as her guest to the New Year celebration months ago and with many fun conversations of color and style, Hongxia Xin had the most beautiful commode made especially for Hannah,.What an amazing gift and life treasure Hannah will have from this experience ,she might not have had it if the Zhao/Xin family had never approached you. I would like to thank them, and the Brewster community for coming together and making this Chinese culture apart of Brewster Academy. Hannah has been over the moon since last night as she said it was such an unforgettable time,she has sent endless pictures that have captured such a fun night. We look forward to meeting Catherine’s family in the up coming weekend, as Hannah will be heading home to China with Catherine for their March break, what an experience she will have as the Zhao/Xin family will be hosting her for 18 day! Cheers to the New Year!! Kevin & Gayle Tassinair

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