By Karen Xia and Alan Zhou
Update: Originally did not mention other Lunar New Years.
This year, both MVHS and LAHS are scheduled to hold their respective Winter Balls on Saturday, Jan. 28, the first day of Chinese New Year as well as the New Year’s day of several other cultures that use a lunar calendar. The scheduling conflict is the result of an oversight from the committee that creates the master schedule for district events.
Ironically, the theme of the MVHS dance is “Happy New Year.”
Event dates are chosen by a group composed both of staff members and administrators who consider various factors such as testing, sports, and other student activities when checking for conflicts. According to Darby, the committee that creates the master schedule strives to make events as inclusive as possible.
“When it was brought to my attention this year, it was a crushing blow, truly, because we’re all here for the kids,” Darby said. “This is why we do the job. Any time a group is not able to be part of the activity, it is crushing. What I do wish is that it was brought to my attention a month or two earlier.”
Going forward, Darby also said that such conflicts are “now a higher priority on the radar.”
Last year, according to Leah Lam, the ASB dance commissioner at the time, the spring dance was cancelled due to a conflict with the drama department’s musical.
While sports, arts, and other student events are important aspects of our school culture, cultural holidays, which create conflicts for those who wish to spend time with family, are often more significant to students and should be given the same weight as other conflicts.
As a result, some students have had to make accommodations for their Chinese New Year celebrations because they wish to attend the dance.
“I probably will be missing part of the celebration because [my family will be]handing out red envelopes later that night,” senior Jade Wang said. “I felt frustrated because I don’t want to miss Chinese New Year, and by the time I figured it out, I already bought my ticket.”
Wang also had to move her family dinner to an earlier time.
“My sister and my two cousins are coming back from college, and we don’t see them often,” Wang said. “That’s why we have to have dinner earlier. I want to see them.”
This isn’t the first time an incident like this has occurred; according to ASB Vice President Bayley Tuch, last year’s Battle of the Classes fell on Passover, and the only “game under the lights” of the year took place on Kol Nidre, both significant Jewish holidays.
MVHS has a 22% Asian population, a significant proportion of which is Chinese, and our school has a prominent Mandarin club that celebrates Chinese culture.
These oversights are not the norm, and generally, our environment is very accepting and welcoming toward Chinese students. However, they do show that MVLA’s leadership—especially its activity planning committee—should strive to be more cognizant of our cultural holidays, just as it would be of sports games or academic events.