World ACCESS Performance


Arts and Culture Celebration for Corvallis Elementary School Students

March 30, 2016.

Tickets on sale in Franklin Office.


Information from last year’s event

A huge thank you to all who supported,

attended, assisted with and/or performed in last week’s ACCESS (Asian Culture Celebration for Elementary School Students) performance. Special thanks again go to instructors Mimi Chen, Travis Johnson, Rachael Sanders,
and Raj Gadasally, who prepared over 110 students todeliver fantastic presentations of dance, art, drama, music, and costumes. Numerous parents aided within  the production. Special thanks to Rachell Carlise for her roll in preparing students and assisting the transition from the theater to the Franklin gym. Wonderful work!

This is the article in the Gazette Times about this event.

More than 100 students performed Thursday at Franklin School’s annual Pan-Asian Cultural Celebration in an gymnasium packed with their parents, teachers and classmates.

The event, which celebrates a variety of Asian traditions through student performances, originally was planned for Feb. 6, during the two-week Lunar New Year celebration.

But a snowstorm Feb. 6 and 7 closed Corvallis schools, so the event was scaled down from six schools to one, moved from Corvallis High School’s auditorium to the gym at Franklin and rescheduled for Thursday.

But the performances went off as rehearsed, with Asian dances, a shadow puppet show and a fashion show of traditional Asian clothing. The event, which lasted more than an hour, reflected the cultures of China, Japan, India, Korea and the Philippines.

Aaron Hale, Franklin’s principal, said the school does its best to represent all Asian cultures in the event.

“I don’t think there is a better way to learn about a culture than through arts and music,” he said.

According to Hale, all second- and fourth-grade students at the school began practicing their dances in early January, and groups in the eighth grade began preparing for their performances as early as November.

Hale said the event began three years ago, when the Corvallis Arts Center gave the school a grant to establish an artist-in-residence program and to buy some of the costumes and props needed to stage the event.

The school charges people $3 for tickets, which helps to sustain the program, Hale said.

Mimi Chen, the artist in residence at Franklin, teaches students the traditional dances. Asian history and culture also is part of the curriculum for second-, fourth- and eighth-graders, who perform at the event.

Chen said she believes in the value of the event so much that she has bought many of the richly colored and textured costumes that the students wear. Many others are borrowed from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle.

Chen said teaching children about music and dance helps to bridge cultural divides. She added that understanding other cultures makes people respect each other more.

Chen said many Americans don’t know much about Asian cultures, but events like this can teach people more about authentic Asian culture. She gave an example from the day of the event: a teacher had prepared paper lanterns for the event; they were white. That is not a color for celebration in China, where white is associated with bad luck and death. White is never included in celebrations during the Chinese New Year, which began Jan. 31, and ends Saturday.

Chen spray-painted the lanterns gold before the event.

Maeve Gregory, a Franklin second-grader, admitted to some jitters before she performed in a scarf dance.

“I was excited and nervous,” she said.

She studies a Chinese dialect, and said she enjoyed mastering the traditional dance.

“I thought it was really cool,” she said.

Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or

To read the article on the Gazette Times website, follow the link below. They also have some wonderful pictures.