Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside holds first-ever Lunar New Year celebration

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Photo by Thomas Kim

Korean language students at a Bayside high school “drummed in” the Lunar New Year last week.

Benjamin N. Cardozo High School held its first-ever Lunar New Year celebration on Friday, Jan. 31, organized by the school’s social studies and Korean instructor Thomas Kim with help from assistant principal Sheila Clark.

According to Kim, the showcase was born out of the Spotlight Korea grant and scholarship program that he signed up for through the Korean Cultural Center of New York. Once Cardozo was given the grant, they were assigned a teaching instructor from the NY Korean Traditional Marching Band in Flushing who taught two dozen students a traditional Korean drum dance.

Students in the intermediate Korean class were “starting from scratch” when learning the drum dance, Kim said. But over the course of 10 weeks, Kim shared that he saw noticeable improvement once it was time for the students to perform.

“They did really well, I’m glad they were able to perform in from of the other classes and faculty because they didn’t know anything in the beginning,” said Kim.

The NY Korean Traditional Marching Band also treated the audience of 500 students to a performance Year of the Pig festivities and students served traditional Korean food to staff and fellow classmates in the afternoon.

“We live in a multicultural society [but] people think that Lunar New Year is only for Chinese people,” Kim said. “Other Asian countries celebrate it as well and it’s good to tell [others] what Lunar New Year is about.”

Kim hopes that through the student body’s newly acquired knowledge of Korean culture, they will also be interested in registering for Korean language classes in September. Since being asked to teach the language classes in 2017, the program has expanded from two to three classes, but his “dream” is to have five Korean language classes in the near future.