On Feb. 4, Leland Bridge Night, a non-profit organization run by the school’s Chinese-American parents, was held. This event is held once a year in order to celebrate Chinese New Year, show the traditions of Chinese culture, motivate parents to be more involved in school-related activities and raise money for the school. Leland Bridge not only helps fund the school, but also assists the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon in Nov., sorts the PSAT test booklet, mails the newspaper monthly and fulfills other important tasks. Founded in the fall of 2001, Leland Bridge has become an essential event to the school, raising thousands of dollars every year.
“Because this year is the 50th anniversary for the school, I used blue and gold to symbolize the school’s colors. I included red for the tablecloth to symbolize Chinese New Year. The Leland Bridge team planned early and bought the items such as the red lanterns earlier this year for a cheaper price from China. The total cost for decorations was less than $300. Leland Bridge Night usually costs around $3000 to $4000 and we make about $1200 to $1600 in total each year,” Decoration Chair Annie Bi said.
This year, the MCs were Seniors Melissa Guo, Brandon Liu, Bryan Yang and Phoebe Yin. Leland Bridge welcomed the guests with a lion dance, exhibiting one of the Chinese traditions. Lasting for about three hours, the show included a welcome speech by the Leland Bridge Night Chair Lei Wang, an instrument duet of a marimba and a piano by Juniors Ping Hsieh and Brandon Chen, many singing performances, a speech by Brad Craycroft, Principal, a skit and other performances.
“Leland Bridge Night took more time to prepare than we thought. One Sunday morning, Brandon, Bryan, Phoebe and I gathered together and brainstormed ideas. Since this year is the year of the rooster, we researched different things that were associated with the animal. We spent an average of three hours each day that we sat down together,” Guo said.
Furthermore, to motivate the audience members to help the team raise even more money, Leland Bridge held a raffle ticket lottery. Prizes comprised of four Disneyland passes, a $100 Amazon gift card, two Hearst Castle passes, a Costco gift card, a gym pass to The Right Stuff and more. The raffle tickets were picked randomly by the MCs.
“I enjoyed all the performances because they were a great reflection of Asian culture. It opened my eyes to understanding the Chinese tradition and how it is different from other types of traditions,” Junior Rahul Natarajan said.
Each and every one of the performances gave the audience members a little picture of what Chinese culture looked like and how it was celebrated. Many audience members who did not know much about the Chinese traditions learned more through Leland Bridge Night.
“Leland Bridge is very unique this year because we have new crew on set and new leaders. I am performing, which is different from simply volunteering because I have to go to more dress rehearsals and help out other performers,” Junior Melissa Hong said.
The Leland Bridge team is determined to make the event even better than the previous years by learning from its mistakes. According to the staff, the event this year ran perfectly with only some minimal issues that could be easily fixed.
“Next year, the Leland Bridge team will work harder to communicate more with the school staff. We did not have all the equipment we need for this event. For instance, we had trouble getting enough tables and chairs, but, fortunately, we solved that problem. Our goal next time is to be more stable and secure about the planning so that we have everything we need. All the money we raised in the event will be given to the school for the benefit of the students,” Wang said.
Leland Bridge is not only viewed as a memorable event that gives everyone a lasting memory of the school, but it is also a great way to raise money for the school. The Bridge Club is already making plans for next year’s event, hoping it will be just as much of a success.