HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Hillside School students joined in a creative learning experience Friday by celebrating the Chinese New Year with simulated fireworks, lanterns and in the shadow of their own Great Wall of Hillside.
The Great Wall of Hillside New Year’s Celebration: Gung Hay Fat Choy, was coordinated by Artist-in-Residence Alison Marra and sponsored by the school's Parent, Teachers, Students Association as part of the third grade social studies "Communities Around the World" unit.
Each of the 135 students created a brick as part of the Great Wall, the third graders painted Chinese lanterns and second graders wrote riddles to hang from each of the lanterns. that were hung in the school lobby.
The teachers and students opened the ceremony by stomping on bubble wrap to replicate the sounds of traditional Chinese fireworks celebration.
As part of the study unit, two books about the Great Wall of China were purchased for each of the 11 classes. The children learned about the Wall and why it was built, then wrote about what they would preserve with their "Great Wall".. Their writings appear next to the each individual brick they created.
Student Gigi Gray Smith, who was born in China, spoke for the students, revealing what she would protect with a Great Wall.
"I would want to build a Great Wall around my hometown in China," Gray Smith said. "It’s special to me, so I want to protect it because I was adopted from China. I would feel happy that we are protected because the people of China are safe."