(Our first report on the Confucius Institute celebration, with more video/photos, is here)
First-grader Delaney Blanford‘s English and Mandarin greeting embodied what the Confucius Institute Education Center opening ceremony at Denny International Middle School was all about: Giving more students in our state the chance to learn Mandarin. She was preceded by Beacon Hill International School classmate Nat Beaumon (that’s Confucius Institute HQ director Madame Xu Lin and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn in the background):
Their participation as student emcees fits right in with the mission of the Seattle Public Schools international schools – with Chief Sealth International High School the latest to win that designation, and prominently participating in today’s ceremony; the center and its language programs will be based for now on the Denny campus, but will move to the Sealth/Denny campus a few blocks east on SW Thistle this fall. That’s why a parade/procession traversed those blocks as today’s ceremony ended:
At the end of our video, that’s Denny principal Jeff Clark, resplendent in the bright-blue suit he often wears when his Denny Dolphins are in the spotlight. At the start of the video, the Lion Dancers (doubling as break dancers) were from Franklin High School, the marching musicians from Denny and Sealth (both directed by Marcus Pimpleton). Clark and Chief Sealth principal John Boyd both spoke at their future new campus – the Denny principal, exchanging gifts with the Confucius Institute’s leader Madame Xu Lin:
Boyd will be hosting the center starting this fall, since his students move into their renovated school this September, while the new Denny won’t be occupied till 2011.
He also walked in the parade/procession, with West Seattle’s school board rep Steve Sundquist (photo right) also accompanying Madame Xu Lin:
The distinguished visitor from China had a short time earlier unveiled a plaque, with Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson:
And she heard students sing the Chinese folk song “Mo Li Hua“:
The student emcees joined them:
But what this ultimately comes down to, is back in the classroom – where the visiting delegation began their short stay in West Seattle, watching students practice writing Chinese – in this case, the word for “harmony”:
Along with Madame Xu Lin, four other representatives from the headquarters of the Confucius Institute – a nonprofit affiliated with the Chinese government (explained further on this University of Washington website) – attended the ceremonies, as did representatives from the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco. They got a whirlwind hard-hat tour of the Denny/Sealth site before they left (here’s our report on the one we took with Sealth students a few weeks ago).