David Douglas Schools host Lunar New Year celebration

INCLUDES FUN VIDEO | Folks in outer East Portland didn’t need to travel to Portland’s Old Town to celebrate; they enjoyed a lively party in the Hazelwood neighborhood! …

Many families turn out to celebrate the Lunar New Year at a party in the David Douglas High School South Cafeteria.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, substantial gatherings celebrating the Lunar New Year did not take place for the last two years around here.

This year, Lunar New Year events are being held in many areas – but the only one we learned of took place on Friday evening, January 20, at the David Douglas High School (DDHS) South Cafeteria.

-2 Volunteers get ready to serve customary (and some non-traditional) Lunar New Year foods at the celebration.

Although they put out the word the best they could to schools in the David Douglas School District (DDSD), organizers expected that this event would be lightly attended.

Instead, even though this Lunar New Year party was held two days before the “official” date, the capacious facility soon filled to near capacity.

-3 The SUN Site Manager at Menlo Park Elementary School, Cassy Wood, here spends a moment with the Aidé Juarez-Valerio, who is also the Community Partnership Coordinator for the David Douglas School District.

“This is the first time we’re doing this, to my understanding,” began main organizer DDSD Multilingual Programs and Equity Family and Community Partnership Coordinator Aidé Valerio-Juarez.

“Tonight, we are partnering with the DDHS Asian Student Union, and a few of our SUN School Managers in the District, to observe the 2023 Lunar New Your, celebrating the ‘Year of the Rabbit’, for all to enjoy,” Valerio-Juarez told East Portland News.

-4 Representatives from IRCO, APANO, and the library come to have a good time with celebrants.

“We’ve also invited some of our local agencies – such as the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), and Multnomah County Library – to share about the programs and services they have available for our communities.

“We’re very happy to make this possible: To recognize our Asian community that celebrates and honors this holiday,” Valerio-Juarez added.

Part of the evening’s entertainment is a multicultural fashion show, presented by students.

There’s more entertainment: Students performances of K-Pop dance numbers delight the audience.

Soon, there was a line of families snaking through the western side of the building, awaiting the opening of the food service. Although the organizers had planned to be able to serve many people, the crowd present was so large that after about a half hour, the food ran out.

Take a look at this video, and see all the fun folks had this evening at the David Douglas Schools Lunar New Year:

“Our school district is one of the most diverse in the county,” pointed our Valerio-Juarez. “So, we’re recognizing and celebrating this holiday because we want to honor our Asian community.

With the energetic accompaniment of drums and cymbals, members of the White Lotus Dragon & Dance team’s Lucky New Year’s Lions entertain.

“This is also a great opportunity for communities who don’t identify as Asian to come and learn more about Asian culture,” Valerio-Juarez observed. “When we learn about each other, we actually become a stronger community.”

As a result of the overwhelming success of this year’s gathering, expect to see the Lunar New Year celebrated there again next year.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



Comments are closed.

© 2005-2024 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.