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Local school welcomes Chinese New Year


Student performers and a lion dance were event highlights

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - International Lion Dance Team performed at a Chinese New Year event on Friday in Lake Oswego. There’s no lion in the Chinese Zodiac, but two fierce specimens danced in the Year of the Horse Friday evening at a Lake Oswego church.

Nestled in the United Methodist Church on South Shore Boulevard, the Chinese American International School kicked off its Chinese New Year celebration with a presentation from the International Lion Dance Team.

A yellow lion and a red lion, each operated by two dancers, pranced about, sometimes rearing up on their back legs and batting their lashes. A character dressed as a warrior led one lion as both of the cats circled the crowd. Percussionists smashed out a rhythm to excite the crowd.

Guests sat at round tables dressed in red and gold linen, sporting a bamboo centerpiece. The children also performed at the event, singing, reading poems and performing a play in Mandarin, the official language of mainland China.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Ethan Yipp, 7, works on a craft project as Egan Wong ,7, watches.

While kindergartener Rae Komfolio was performing, her brother, 7-year-old Peter Komfolio, was an ardent fan, waving furiously and calling out her name. She smiled and waved back.

Parent Nancy Wakefield also was enjoying the show, listening as the children sang. “It’s a really lyrical language,” Wakefield said.

The school’s event coincided with the first day of the Chinese New Year, a major moment in Chinese culture and an important day to mark for a school offering a Chinese immersion education and culture program. The school hosts about 60 students in preschool, kindergarten and afterschool programs.

More than 150 parents, students, church members and special guests, including Lake Oswego Police Chief Don Johnson, were gathered for the festivities. Officials are important to the Chinese people, and so they often are invited to attend major happenings. Sarah Pons, director of the school, read aloud a letter from Gov. John Kitzhaber.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sue Anne Lee Reyes, right and Teya Burnham of International Lion Dance Team provide the beat for the Chinese Dragon performance.

“Combining Mandarin with a solid early childhood development program lays an important cornerstone for our students’ futures,” the letter said in part.

For more information, visit caisoregon.org.

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.