Chinese Cultural Festival offers Far East experience

A colorful ribbon dance, Chinese yo-yo demonstration, music performed on a guzheng or Chinese zither and activity stations that included practicing traditional character writing were all part of Sunday's Chinese Cultural Festival held at Loch Raven High School.

The festival was sponsored by the Chinese Language School of Baltimore, which meets weekly at the school to teach the spoken and written language.

Now with about 30 students in kindergarten through ninth grade, the school has been going for more than four decades. For the last 10 years, the school has been held on Sundays at Loch Raven High.

Grace Lee, of Cockeysville, assistant principal at the school, said that while the number of students changes year to year, has seen the number of non-Asian families participating at the school grow.

"Learning Chinese is a trend; it's a popular class," said Lee, whose son, Isaac, a Ridgely Middle School student, will graduate this year with a certificate from the Chinese Language School.

Pamela Grinder and her two children, Justin, 8, and Jordan, 15, have been active at the school for a decade themselves. Grinder took classes with Jordan for two years, and then enrolled Justin.

"I want my children to be diverse and learn other cultures," said Grinder, a Timonium resident. "And the Chinese classes teach you patience, too."

On Sunday, Jordan was elated at having won a Chinese knot, or decorative handicraft, during the raffle. After photos with students and teachers, the students and their families sat down to a meal with all the popular Chinese foods.

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