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Hacienda La Puente Unified Students Celebrate Lunar New Year with Art, Dance and Poetry
Posted 2/1/23

Hacienda La Puente Unified students performed lion and dragon dances, created handmade lanterns and engaged in fun-filled Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesson plans as they heralded the Year of the Rabbit with Lunar New Year celebrations and exhibits across the District.


The celebrations, spread over two weeks, allowed students to explore AAPI cultures and traditions while being encouraged to add their own creative contributions with artwork and poetry as they celebrated the symbolic practices of Lunar New Year such as family, renewal, prosperity and good fortune.


“Hacienda La Puente Unified values and embraces the diversity within our District communities,” Board President Christine Salazar said. “Our schools have put together such beautiful works of art, poetry and performances. It has been amazing to see our students embracing one another during this celebration for our Asian American and Pacific Islander families.”


Cedarlane Academy Korean Dual Immersion (KDIP) students kicked off its Lunar New Year celebration with a drumline that paid homage to KPOP superstars BTS and the popular South Korean TV show Nanta, while incorporating traditional samul nori rhythms. KDIP students also performed drum, lion and fan dances for their families.


Nelson Elementary School students welcomed City of La Puente Mayor Charlie Klinakis, the District Chief of Police John Rabbit and the greater community to view rows of art, including handmade rabbits and lanterns, and original poetry, as part of a walking assembly held in the Nelson cafeteria.


At WingLane Elementary School, students played Yut, a traditional Korean game associated with Lunar New Year, and practiced their chopstick skills. At Los Molinos Elementary School, students went from classroom to classroom performing a lion dance.


Wedgeworth Elementary School held its annual Lunar New Year Spectacular on Jan.26, where distinguished guests, HLPUSD Board members, administrators and families filled the stands to watch the highly anticipated event. Dual-language immersion students welcomed each act, introducing the performances with a brief overview of its cultural significance in Mandarin and English. The event ended with a colorful and sentimental finale that included all student performers.


“Wedgeworth has been hosting Lunar New Year Spectacular for the last nine years and it is a cherished celebration within our school community,” Wedgeworth Principal Paulina Cho said. “It’s the time of the year to be with our families to honor the Chinese culture, reflect on our successes and welcome the new year together.”


Sierra Vista Middle School families donated traditional items and decorations to the sixth-grade class to help them learn more about the Lunar New Year traditions. Sierra Vista students also watched educational videos that showed the significance of the beat of drums, dragon movements and other AAPI cultural activities.


Hacienda La Puente Unified will conclude its festivities with a Districtwide Lunar New Year Celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Hacienda Heights Community Center. Before the festivities begin, performers and audience members will partake in a moment of silence for the victims and families affected by the Monterey Park mass shooting.


“At a time when the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is celebrating Lunar New Year, the Monterey Park tragedy has caused deep sadness,” Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. “I want to thank our community for supporting and embracing one another during this difficult time and we look forward to celebrating with you all during the District Celebration. May the Year of the Rabbit bring you a year of prosperity.”


HLPUSD_LUNARNEWYEAR1: Wedgeworth Elementary School students perform a high-energy song and dance during a Lunar New Year Spectacular on Jan. 26.



HLPUSD_LUNARNEWYEAR2: Nelson Elementary School student escorts the City of La Puente Mayor Charlie Klinakis through various rows of artwork during a Lunar New Year walking assembly on Jan. 21.