Charter school rings in Chinese New Year
By Ling-Mei Wong
The Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School welcomed the Year of the Snake at its 4th Chinese New Year Celebration on March 14 at Hei La Moon, after a delay due to the Feb. 8 blizzard.
Students put on a musical performance and a presentation on spending the summer in China.
“We at APR are obsessed about China,” said Yong Li, Mandarin Department Chair and Director of the China Exchange Programs. The school’s exchange program with Beijing No. 80 School has involved more than 250 students and 30 faculty members since its inception 12 years ago. APR hopes to send 90 percent of its students to China in the future.
APR has operated for 16 years and had the highest 2012 MCAS score for 10th graders, said Sue Thompson, executive director of APR. It received 1,075 applications for the 2013-2014 school year, but as a charter school, it can only accept a limited number of students through a lottery.
“We are lobbying to raise the cap on the number of students,” Thompson said.
Leverett Wing, vice chair of the Governor’s Asian American Commission, praised the school for its tolerance when anti-Chinese rhetoric is the norm. “These students will be leaders,” he said. “They will be even more important in the coming years.”
Chinese language instruction is mandatory at the school, which serves 504 students from 5th to 12th grade. The student body is 58 percent African American, 20 percent white, 17 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian and 3 percent identified as “other.”
This post is also available in: Chinese