Year of the Dragon celebration with our international students

Blackfriars has marked the Year of the Dragon with a Lunar New Year lunch for our international students.

The school’s 21 international students, from six countries, along with members of the Executive Team, several teachers and education support officers, attended the lunch, organised by International Students Program Officer Angela Honner.

Speaking at the lunch, Principal David Ruggiero extended a “really warm welcome” to the students, particularly those new to Blackfriars in 2024.

Blackfriars’ 2024 international student cohort with Director of Development Patrick Kelly, Principal David Ruggiero, Deputy Principal Brett Knowles and International Students Program Officer Angela Honner.

“I imagine it would be challenging to change countries,” Mr Ruggiero said.

“I know some of our young students in Year 7 find it hard to come to a new school, let alone a new country.

“So we are very conscience of that and we want to make you feel welcome, feel at home.

“We are honoured that you are part of our community and we look forward to continuing our relationship with you. Happy New Year.”

Reach Chay, right, with his brother Chanvanrith (Year 7) and Principal David Ruggiero at the Lunar New Year lunch.

International Student Captain Reach Chay said it was important the boys celebrated significant moments in their culture, “even when we are far away from home”.

“It allows us to continue celebrating our own New Year and maintain the traditions that are important to us,” Reach said.

“It also provides an opportunity to engage with the international community at the school, fostering understanding and appreciation for different cultures.

“By participating in cultural celebrations, we can share our traditions with others and educate them about the significance of these events in our culture.

“This exchange also fosters mutual respect and understanding, creating a more inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated for their unique cultural identities.”

One of the friendship pins presented to our international students.

Meanwhile, the international students have been presented with “friendship pins”, combining the flag of their home country and the Australian flag.

“We hope that the boys will wear these pins with pride,” Ms Honner said.

The Year of the Wood Dragon

The Chinese zodiac is a 12-year cycle that links each year to an animal sign. The order of the animal signs is fixed, with the Dragon being the fifth in the cycle. Next year will be the Year of the Snake.

Each year also corresponds to one of the five basic elements in Chinese cosmology – Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. The combination of the 12 animal signs and the five elements creates a 60-year cycle. This year is the Year of the Wood Dragon.

International students at the lunch to celebrate Lunar New Year.

According to Associate Professor Xiaohuan Zhao, from the University of Sydney: “Individuals born in the Year of the Dragon … are believed to possess certain characteristics and traits associated with the dragon. They tend to be ambitious, confident and charismatic. They possess an abundance of energy and enthusiasm while also displaying exceptional intelligence and power.”

“They are naturally lucky and gifted, often accomplishing their endeavours with exceptional standards of excellence. Individuals born in the Year of the Wood Dragon … are characterised as highly creative and curious individuals,” Associate Professor Zhao said.

“They possess a natural inclination to explore diverse paths in life, reflecting their open-minded and liberal nature.”

Meet your 2024 International Student Captain, Reach Chay

Chanrithyreach “Reach” Chay only came to Blackfriars in mid-2023. In 2024, the Year 11 student will lead the international student cohort as International Student Captain.


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