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Orchard School welcomes the year of the black snake

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 6th, 2013

An Orchard School student is all smiles as she leads her classmates in a dragon dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the school Tuesday. (Photos by Tom Dunlap/Register-Pajaronian)

APTOS The Orchard School rang in the Chinese New Year Wednesday with lessons about Chinese history, the Chinese Zodiac, inventions and traditional dragon dances.

In wide-ranging presentations by students and teachers, the students learned about many Chinese inventions, including gunpowder, rockets, kites, the crossbow, the compass, metal detectors and more.

Sixth-grader Lillian Wayne explained how the year of the black snake fits in the Chinese Zodiac calendar and the meaning behind the snake, which is said to be the most mysterious creature of the Chinese Zodiac.

Another boy said that the year of the black snake, which follows the year of the dragon, is meant to be a year of "steady progress and attention to detail."

Circus arts, drama and gardening teacher Rock Lerum dazzled the crowd with an ancient form of juggling involving three sticks.

"They're called devil sticks, but here we call them rhythm sticks," Lerum said, adding that he is self-taught and his skill level is a result of years of practice.

Language arts and social studies teacher Rob Owen led his students and the entire crowd in practicing some kung fu moves, including one called "cloud hands."

A group of kindergartners crawled under the first of two ceremonial dragons, and then twisted and turned the dragon through the school's gym (which also houses the music and art rooms).

5th grader Declan Lanyi assumed the head of the second dragon, and he lead the smiling students out of the gym, down the steps and out onto the sunny campus for a makeshift Chinese New Years Day parade.

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