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San Diego Chinese Language Academy Celebrates Lunar New Year

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Pictured is the front entrance to Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, Feb. 25, 2015.

Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, a Chinese language immersion school in Pacific Beach, has thrown a Lunar New Year party for the past seven years.

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is not over in San Diego. There is a special celebration at a special school.

Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, a Chinese language immersion school in Pacific Beach, has thrown a Lunar New Year party for the past seven years. This year, the Lunar New Year began on Feb. 19.

From the outside it looks like any other school carnival: kids singing adorably off key and smiling parents snapping pictures. But after listening closely it becomes clear the students are singing in Chinese.

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy kindergarteners performed in the Lunar New Year festival, Feb. 25, 2015.

Principal Eddie Park said his school is a groundbreaker of sorts.

“(It is) one of the first Mandarin immersion dual language programs in San Diego Unified School District,” Park said.

The Lunar New Year event started small.

“With maybe about 20 people or so, and it has grown into a major celebration and event and as you can see it's standing room only right now,” Park said.

Parents crammed into the school’s auditorium, all trying to see their children.

Parent Jonathan Jeseniuk is amazed at the pace his six-year-old son is learning Chinese.

“The Chinese language, with him understanding that, plus English, he can speak to almost 90 percent of the world,” Jeseniuk said.

By Matthew Bowler

Students at the Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy gather in costume for a Lunar New Year celebration, Feb. 25, 2015.

Third-grader Anna joked about having her own reasons for learning Chinese.

“My mom doesn't know Chinese and well, sometimes, we test her and she doesn't know what it means,” Anna said between giggles.

Jeseniuk empathizes with Anna’s parents, but at the same time he’s happy to have such problems.

“In the future I need to catch up — get up to speed so I know what they’re talking about,” Jeseniuk said.

The school is hosting a free community party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The school's address is 2445 Fogg St.

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