For 5 years, William Winsor Elementary School in Smithfield has been associated with the U.S.– China Institute and Confucius Institute established itself a Confucius Classroom to educate and inform its students about many aspects of China. On March 22, William Winsor Elementary school arranged a closing ceremony for its after school enrichment program, in which its students learn about various aspects of Chinese culture, like its language, and different regions in China.

The closing ceremony started as the faculty and staff involved with the program introduced congratulated around 20 children taking part in this valuable opportunity the elementary school has offered. After the brief introduction, Ziqin (Brian) Zhang 14’ who has been involved in the after school program beautifully preformed a piece of traditional Chinese classic music by using Gu-zheng, a 3000-year-old traditional Chinese musical instrument. Following up, the children involved in the program, using skills taught in the program sang “A Little Blue Moon Boat” in both English and Chinese. Proud of their achievement in completing the after school program, the U.S.- China Institute and the William Winsor Elementary school presented the children with certificates and the children are called on upon by their English and Chinese names.

The highlight of the ceremony was Bryant’s Dragon Dance Team. As soon as the team entered the auditorium, the students erupted into applause. The team perfromed the traditional Chinese dragon dance with their grace and poise. For the next 8 minutes or so the auditorium was silent except for when the team positioned the dragon above the children, at such time the children instantly applauded and filled the room with laughter and noise. Overall the presentation was excellent, and as Alex stated, a 5th grader at the middle school, his favorite part was “when the Dragon Dance Team positioned the dragon close to everyone’s head”. The dragon dance adequately represented the Chinese culture through the power of dance. As the whole school was sitting in awe watching, the dance was entirely fascinating. Members of the team also enjoyed reactions from the children. For the Dragon Dance Team, this is just a beginning of a series of performances for RI communities in the next 2 weeks, including performances for a wedding in East Providence, a company employee group and Bryant’s groundbreaking ceremony for Shu Fang Zhai, a replica of a court yard house in China’s Forbidden City.