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Coppell High Schools Treat Community to Chinese New Year Celebration

Coppell — People of all ages and heritages experienced Chinese culture during the 3rd annual Chinese New Year Celebration held at the Cozby Library and Community Commons on Saturday, Jan. 25. This yearly event is organized by the student Chinese Clubs at Coppell High School, Coppell High School 9th Grade Center and Coppell’s New Tech High.

The Chinese New Year celebrates the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. 2020 is “The Year of the Rat.”

This free event featured activities such as origami, face painting, Chinese yo-yos, Chinese hacky sack, lantern making, games, calligraphy crafts, and live entertainment provided by students.

“The Chinese class students had to create for their school project all of these pieces [of the festival] that will teach the attendees about different things from the Chinese culture. They really get into it,” parent volunteer Michelle Cohen said.

Andrea Voelker teaches all levels of Mandarin Chinese in the Coppell school district.

“All of the students taking Chinese class come to me, so I teach students from all three of the Coppell high schools,” Voelker said. “Our first year, this was a New Tech High ‘capsule’ idea. The student that created it graduated during the second year.  

“Last year was the hardest for me, because I was working by myself. I am smarter this year, because I have a team to help me. I have six of my Chinese Club officers. From the beginning of planning this event in October until today, they designed the shirts, created the layout of the different activities and things like that.”

Voelker and her team target not only the high schoolers when promoting the event, but also send out information to local elementary schools and the general public. The Chinese Club students design projects for the demographic they would like to interact with.

“Some students want to work with little kids, some with older kids and some with adults. It’s up to them to decide,” Voelker said. “Because our student demographic has changed so much in recent years, CISD is thinking about expanding their language program. They are also considering offering language classes to the younger grades, so by the time they get to high school, they can speak fluently.”

“I am part of the Chinese Club,” CHS sophomore Kelly Wei said. “This is my second year in Chinese class. I decided to do all of this because my heritage is Chinese.

“I’m doing calligraphy art for my project. I’m also doing origami rats, because I felt like the Chinese Zodiac is a big part of [Chinese] tradition, and I think it’s really important we embrace the Year of the Rat. I love doing crafts, so I just thought to embrace some American stuff that we do here, along with traditional Chinese stuff.”