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Fridley Public Schools
A musician looks on as a student plays a Chinese instrument.

The Fridley Schools Foundation (FSF) has enriched the educational experience of Fridley students enrolled in Chinese language classes. Thanks to a recent FSF grant, students delved deep into Chinese culture by exploring traditional Chinese musical instruments and opera. 

Students taking Chinese 3 learned vocabulary related to daily routines and school life and examined differences between traditional Chinese and Western instruments. The grant enabled Chinese teacher Hsiao-Hsuan Huang to invite professional traditional Chinese musicians, sparking excitement among the learners. Some students even formed small bands using traditional Chinese instruments, such as the yueqin (Chinese guitar) and guzheng (Chinese piano).

“I appreciate that the Fridley Schools Foundation is giving students the chance to have authentic experiences with the subjects they learn about in class,” said Huang. “As a teacher, the best part was seeing these students enjoying the experiences!”

An opera singer explains Chinese opera to FHS students.

The Chinese 4 curriculum includes units on shopping and Chinese opera. With the support of the FSF grant, students explored the intricate world of Chinese opera including singing, makeup,  costumes and props. Through hands-on experiences facilitated by professional Chinese opera performers and crew, students gained a deeper understanding of the art form and its cultural significance. They tried on opera costumes and noted the significance of makeup in Chinese opera, where different colors symbolize various traits: red signifies loyalty, green signifies stubbornness, and white signifies evil. This understanding allowed students to connect more deeply with the characters and themes of Chinese opera while broadening their cultural horizons.

The FSF's support has enriched the Chinese language curriculum and empowered students to embrace cultural diversity, fostering a deeper appreciation for global perspectives and traditions. Through initiatives like these, the Fridley Schools Foundation continues to play a vital and active role in enhancing the educational journey of Fridley students.