Niagara Gazette — A party in Lewiston-Porter must always include a dragon. So says Confucius.
Of course, the ancient Chinese teacher and philosopher never said those words. But it didn't stop Gold Summit Martial Arts Studio from bringing one to the celebration Saturday marking the grand opening of the first public school classroom in Western New York bearing the name of one of China's historical figures.
With Saturday's event, Lew-Port's Confucius Classroom, a subsidiary of the University at Buffalo's Confucius Institute, will serve as a place for students to experience Chinese culture and language while opening up several new avenues the school can take in its growing international studies program.
"It was a long process," Lew-Port High School Principal Paul Casseri said. "I'm proud to say we can have a Confucius classroom of our own."
The classroom is part of an initiative by the Chinese government organization Hanban, which was created to help spread the culture of China and encourage learning the language. UB teamed with the organization five years ago and opened its first Confucius Classroom in Nichols school in Buffalo shortly thereafter.
But Lew-Port is the institute's first public school classroom, which expands the reach that the program can have. The institute already helped organize two week-long summer camps the past two years at the school, partnered with organizations like the Chinese Club of Western New York and Gold Summit and helped to bring Chinese teachers to the district as part of the exchanges.
Lew-Port was already doing much of this before UB's involvement, as Casseri steadily built a strong relationship with Tianjin No. 2 high school in China's fourth-largest city. According to institute Director Yu Yuan, the partnership will help with resources that the district otherwise could not dream of providing.