Local residents celebrate Year of the Dragon
SALEM – A silk “lion” wove and danced its way through a throng of happy college students, adults and children in the Wortmann Ballroom at Roanoke College.
The traditional Lion Dance performed by Chris Spoon and Johnny Hsu from the Shaolin Martial Arts Academy in Roanoke marked the conclusion of the Lunar New Year Celebration at Roanoke College on Jan. 26.
A Korean student delegation from Wonju, Korea, Roanoke’s first Sister City, and teacher Jinny Kim joined in celebrating the Year of the Dragon. The middle school students were here for three weeks, staying in homes throughout the Roanoke Valley.
“It’s the next best thing to traveling,” said Salem resident Jeanette Hayes.
Her family, which includes 7-year-old Audrey who was with her and older children Jordan, 15, and Skyler, 13, hosted Hei Ri, who is 15 the way Koreans count years, or 14 in American years.
Dr. Bob Roth was active in Roanoke’s Sister Cities program after returning from 10 years as a medical missionary at Wonju Christian Hospital. Roth and his wife, Dot, were at the celebration.
Roanoke College students studying Asian culture and language took part in the event. Students in Japanese 102 sang two songs.
Adrian Gillem, a freshman from the Virgin Islands, and Xavier Chance, a freshman from Roanoke, enjoyed their first Lunar New Year at the college. “It is a big cultural thing on this campus. I’ll be coming here every year,” Gillem said.