The Review of 2011 Chinese New Year Celebration

The Society for Friendship with China celebrated the Chinese New Year with Red Lanterns strung across the stage and everyone in fine colorful dress. We welcomed the Year of the Rabbit a few days early with a banquet and entertainment at the InterContinental Hotel on the Country Club Plaza on January 30, 2011.

Attendees watched a Power Point presentation of our past year's accomplishments while bidding on silent auction items at a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception. Piano music played by Dan Sturdevant encouraged a festive atmosphere. Remarks by emcee Chris Graham, Society Board Treasurer, began the evening, followed by a lovely dinner catered by New Peking Restaurant.

After the sumptuous banquet, John Phillips honored active volunteers Joyce Cox, Dan Gilbert, Linda and Tom Hanley, Betty and Guy Burton, Will Hodgkinson, Diana Tinnen, Mary Edith Lillis, Melinda Minks, Sally Ryan and Marcia Cooper with awards.

Graham then presented the Dragon Partner Award to the Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation Department for their cooperation and special services annually on the Dragon Boat Race on Brush Creek. Mary Edith Lillis accepted it and spoke of the loving care and great effort taken to put on the Festival each summer, while Joyce Cox followed with the origins and history of the Dragon Boat legacy.

The Education Award was presented by Bob Chien to Heather McKinley for her late father Jim Lloyd's continuous support of efforts to fund schools near Xi'an: Han Jia Ping School on Chin Mountain, Yu Kou School and An Shang School.

The Bridge of Friendship was presented to Jeannette Nichols by Graham, who spoke on Karen Crain's work to set up Kansas City's connection to Xi'an through the Sister Cities program, after which Mary Eisenhower of People-to-People awarded DST Systems the highest honor of the Year of the Rabbit.

A special ink brush dance by award-winning artist and dancer Zhang Li created the first item to be auctioned: an ink brush painting created during the course of the dance. A flight over the Plaza lights and an original Scroll of Endurance, painted by artist Zach Lee also were auctioned off at this time to raise funds for the schools which depend on the Society for supplies and books for their students.

Graham then introduced our keynote speaker, Nancy Hope of the University of Kansas East Asian Cultural Center, who spoke on "Promoting a Culture of Caring and Education." S he related her experiences leading groups of teachers to our schools to show how building a love of learning can overcome the poorest of circumstances.

Special cultural performances by the KC Chinese Drum Rollers, the Silk Road Dance Academy and the Lily Dance School rounded out the evening, along with a New Year's Song composed by local entertainer Miss Jackie Silberg.

The Society for Friendship with China wishes to thank DST Systems, the Michael Newburger Foundation, Husch Blackwell, Sprint, Keller & Owens LLC, the InterContinental Hotel, Sprint and Heartland Bank for their great support of the banquet. We also appreciate our table sponsors: the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the City of Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation Department; the Confucius Institute of the University of Kansas; DST Systems; the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund; Graham and Associates CPAs; Heartland Bank; Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP; Johnson County Community College; Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club; Kansas City Rotary Club No. 13; Keller & Owens LLC; People to People International; Sprint; US-China Peoples Friendship Association.

- by Marcia Cooper

Warrior and Lantterns
Eight Dragon Boat Captains
Legacy Member Jeanette Nichols
DST Systems
Table and Award
Mary Eisenhower presents Scholarship
Entertainment by
Zhang Li
Photos by Linda Hanley

2010 Chinese New Year Celebration

2009 Chinese New Year Celebration

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