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The 2019 year began with Lunar New Year celebrations. The Year of the Dog was brought in at Clarkson with an Asian dragon dance, crafts, music, and food for everyone in the cafeteria. It was a lunch hour full of energy, good food, and good cheer.
Throughout the semester, WOW Wednesdays continued the orientation for this year’s newcomer students. There were workshops on Visa Renewal, Health Insurance, and tips and suggestions on planning summer activities. These workshops are always informative, and a valuable resource, aiding our students in their continued orientation of Canada.
Late March, with warmer days brought the maple syrup season. A field trip to Bronte Creek Provincial Park allowed international students the experience of actively seeing maple syrup production, and allowed them to hear about it’s history in Canada. Making pancakes, and then smothering them in Canadian maple syrup was a highlight to end the day.
This year’s International Committee focussed activities on purposefully sharing and teaching their culture to local students. Along with making and eating dumplings at the Dumplings in December event, International students also taught a traditional Chinese sport, Jianzi, to interested Chargers. A competition of keeping the birdie/hacky sack-like object in the air with body parts made the lunch hour activity fun for all.
In addition, our established Language Partnership Program transitioned into Mandarin Mondays, where students could learn a new language in larger groups with their friends. What a success, as so many local students learned a new language informally with smiles and laughter.
Lastly, a visit from a school group from China’s 271 Education Group occurred in May. During a two week visit, local ambassador students were shadowed during their morning classes, with a welcome and goodbye party starting and ending the visit. Connections were created, culture, language and experience were exchanged, and friendships were made. We are looking forward to seeing our visitors from China again, as they return in September 2020 as Clarkson Chargers.
With 50 of our international students graduating this year, we celebrate their success of receiving high school diplomas in a second language - not an easy feat. We wish them all the best, as they pursue post secondary pathways in a wide range of areas. We will miss them, as they have become like family but remember, ‘Once a Charger, always a Charger!