EL MONTE – El Monte City School District students created dragons and lanterns from colorful paper mâché, stuffed their written wishes into red envelopes and learned about Chinese legends and traditions during a Jan. 23 Lunar New Year celebration.

Some 200 students and their families attended the event at the Jeff Seymour Family Center, which featured arts and crafts, a family photo booth, opportunity drawings, a special Lunar New Year read-along and a student performance of a traditional ribbon dance.

El Monte City School District Community Liaison Maria Morgan said she was thrilled with the turnout for the celebration and thanked the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community Liaison, Elaine Gao, for planning the event.

Cleminson School parent Jing Li said the event is special because it encourages families to learn about their heritage while also sharing Chinese culture with other community members.

“I was touched by the District’s initiative to host a Lunar New Year event because it serves as a kind of bridge between different cultures that make up one community,” Li said. “The beauty of events like this is that they help shine a spotlight on individual cultures while also helping us, as a community, to understand one another.”

Local community partners, including Active San Gabriel Valley, the El Monte Promise Foundation and the Asian Youth Center, attended the event to share information with parents and families.

“El Monte City School District values the diversity of its community and supports events that celebrate our unique cultures and traditions,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “Thank you to our community liaisons, parents, teachers and staff who helped put such an important event for our District.”


The AAPI Community Liaison Elaine Gao (left) and El Monte City School District Community Liaison Maria Morgan (right), with the help of parents and staff, put together an event in celebration of Lunar New Year, featuring arts and crafts, prizes and dinner.

EMCSD_LUNAR2: El Monte City School District student creates a paper mâché lantern during the Lunar New Year celebratory event Jan. 23 at the Jeff Seymour Family Center.