Students Welcome Teachers into the Year of the Rat


Sacha Feldberg

Sophomores Jessica Qiu and Serena Shi enjoy attending the Lunar New Year event in Room 126 on Jan. 31, 2020.

By Sacha Feldberg, Arts Editor

As of Jan. 25, 2020, a new Chinese new year began, signaling the start of the Year of the Rat. Six days later, WCHS students in the Asian American Festival Committee hosted the Lunar New Year Breakfast for WCHS staff. The event was sponsored by the PTSA and took place in Room 126 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.. 

Senior Grace Chen, one of the co-founders of the Asian American Festival Committee, alongside senior Lucas Lin, stood at the door, welcoming teachers and other staff members to the event. Various Asian foods were served in a grab-and-go style.

“My favorite part was the actual event itself,” Chen said. “It was fun to see all the teachers enjoying the food and it is so special to have them celebrate the new year with us.”

Chen started the club three years ago. She and Lin first proposed this idea to the PTSA, and after receiving approval, Mr. Lee agreed to be their adviser. 

We started doing the Lunar New Year Breakfast the next year,” Chen said. “The breakfast was originally organized by parents, but in our junior year we took over the organizing. We asked parents and students to cook food, and also brought in some food from restaurants.”

The food comes from various students, their families and Chinese restaurants in the area. Senior Yida Wang described the amount of planning that the club did before the event. He and several other students in the committee came the day before and organized the tables. The food was provided on Friday morning, thanks to the WCHS parents who were willing to contribute to this event. 

“We’re really grateful that all the parents in the community really wanted to help as much as they could,” Wang said. “All the decorations came from them also. I’m really grateful that we had the opportunity to help the staff.”

Several staff members came to the event, including the club’s adviser, Mr. Lee. He described how proud he is of the committee’s teamwork. 

“This year was the first year that the AAAF committee, which is entirely student-run, was able to operate almost entirely autonomously without significant assistance from me,” Lee said in an email interview. “It should be noted that this organization is not a WCHS club, per se; rather, it’s a gathering of culturally-mindful students who share the similar interest of raising Asian cultural awareness in and around the WCHS community.” 

He loved several things about this event, including the fact that the event took place in Room 126 which was much more open and comfortable compared to small and cramped Room 124. This upgrade in available space allowed a much cleaner and more comfortable experience for staff and faculty as they came in and out of the serving area. Perhaps the best part of all was the food. 

“I was thoroughly impressed by the wide selection of cultural foods available for everyone’s enjoyment,” Lee said. “However, I give my special gratitude to whoever made the homemade pineapple cakes. Those were exceptionally delicious.”

Sophomore Jessica Qiu also attended the event. She loved helping with decorations, serving food and watching the teachers enjoy it. 

“People came together to enjoy delicious food and to socialize,” Qiu said. “I celebrate this holiday by having a huge dinner with my family, and then asking for red envelopes with money.”

Qiu mentioned that the Chinese New Year is like the “Christmas” of China, bringing together families and friends to celebrate a new beginning. The Lunar New Year Breakfast at WCHS seemed to have the same effect since staff members were brought together by this breakfast. Club co-founder and co-president Lucas Lin was happy with the staff’s reactions and looks forward to future club events. 

“There’s not much I’d change,” Lin said. “After organizing these events for three years with such supportive parents, staff, and peers, I think our committee has made a lot of right decisions and adjustments to ensure that the events of the Asian American Festival can continue for years to come.”