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San Diego Unified School Celebrates Chinese New Year

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San Diego Unified's only Chinese-language school celebrated the Chinese New Year today. It's the first time the school is ringing in the holiday. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.

(Photo: Students and a dragon celebrate the Chinese New Year at Barnard Elementary in Point Loma. Ana Tintocalis/KPBS )

San Diego Unified 's only Chinese-language school celebrated the Chinese New Year today. It's the first time the school is ringing in the holiday. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.

Two people inside a yellow dragon costume delighted school kids. They pranced around the auditorium at Barnard Elementary in Point Loma celebrating the year of the rat.

Nine-year-old Brittany and her friend Gabriel are learning about the Chinese calendar and they know what this year is supposed to be about.

Brittany : The rat means you're clever and sly. And so I want to be a rat, but I'm not. I'm a tiger. Le How.

Reporter : That's Chinese for tiger?

Brittany : Yes.

Gabriel : We're all tigers!!!
This is the first year Barnard is offering Mandarin language classes. Kids learn Mandarin and Chinese culture four days a week. The Chinese-language trend has spread quickly in schools across the country because of China's growing international influence.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.