MONTVILLE, NJ – The year of the rooster was celebrated a little early this year as the Northern New Jersey Chinese Association Chinese School held its new year celebration Jan. 15 at Montville Township High School.

The rooster is the tenth symbol in the Chinese zodiac, according to Dr. Jimmy Chiang, Principal of the school. Each year is related to an animal sign in the 12-year cycle.

Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen attended the celebration, as he has for approximately 25 years. He said he has been friends with former Chinese Association president Margaret Lam for about 30 years.

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“Margaret never lets go,” Frelinghuysen told TAPinto Montville. “She’s given me a view of how important this community is.”

Frelinghuysen greeted the assembly in Chinese and told them he has been attending the celebration for many years, and many of those young performers are now adults who bring their children to the school to learn the Chinese history, culture and language.

“Montville Township has been a welcoming place for the school, and it’s an honor to be here,” Frelinghuysen said. The school holds its Sunday afternoon classes at Montville Township High School.

Montville Township Mayor Jim Sandham was also in attendance, and he said, “Montville Township was formed 150 years ago, and the community has continued to be prosperous. For 35 years, your organization has been an important part of our town.”

Montville Township Board of Education Member Dr. Karen Cortellino told the assembly that each year the performances by the children are more amazing.

“This is my seventh year attending, and I welcome the opportunity to grow valued friendships,” she said. “I admire your willingness to share your wonderful culture with us.”

The performances followed, with the traditional dragon dance, recitations, dances and songs. The performers varied in age from pre-k to tenth grade, and included adult students.

After the performances, the guests went into the cafeteria for games, food and a raffle. Winners of the games were given “good luck money” in red envelopes.

新年快乐 – "Xin Nian Kuai Le" - Happy New Year!