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Lunar New Year banquet

‘A beautiful show’
New York Teacher

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UFT members from schools in District 1 enjoy the festivities.

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Eileen Lew, a teacher at PS 42 in Chinatown, “feeds” the lion with a money envel
The Year of the Rooster gave 340 UFT members something to crow about as they gathered for the annual Lunar New Year banquet at the Joy Luck Palace Restaurant in Chinatown on March 3. “The UFT has celebrated the Lunar New Year for 29 years,” said event organizer Marian Thom, who heads the UFT Asian American Heritage Committee. The Lion Dance Troupe, composed of students from PS 124 in the heart of Chinatown, performed the traditional dance in the banquet hall. Part of the holiday tradition is giving bright red envelopes of money to children. Diners “fed” the parading lions the red envelopes with contributions to help fund student activities at PS 124. “You feed the lion to bring good luck, and the money helps the school,” Thom said. Jennie Chu, a 1st-grade teacher at PS 171 in East Harlem, said she and her school colleagues gather each year for the 10-course banquet. “I like to show them a little bit of my culture,” she said. Jennifer Squires, an English teacher and chapter leader at Queens Academy HS in Flushing, attended with 11 of her co-workers. “Ordinarily you see your colleagues at a chapter leader or delegate meeting, and this is a different way to get together without discussing work,” Squires said. It was the first time at the banquet for Paula Thomas, a paraprofessional and chapter leader at PS 4 in Fresh Meadows, Queens. “I had a fabulous time,” Thomas said. “It was a beautiful show of music, love, culture and food. I’m going to bring more of my colleagues next year.”

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Related Topics: Asian American Heritage
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