You may feel I’m repeating myself when I share how much I enjoy the sixth grade Lion Dance at Mass Greeting. My apologies—it’s just that it is the coolest student activity at CAIS. As I write this month’s Middle School Update, a group of enthusiastic sixth graders is in the hallway outside of my office (spilling out of the Sensato Performing Arts Room) rehearsing their roles in the Lion Dance they will perform at the January 20th Mass Greeting. I’ve worked at five different private independent schools in my career, and while each had programs that attracted me to work there, each also surprised me with something else that I knew nothing about, but quickly became one of my favorite things about the school. At CAIS, the sixth grade Lion Dance has definitely been the “surprise” activity that I have come to love more than all others, even those at my previous schools.
Our middle school students universally share with me that they were in awe of the Lion Dancers at Mass Greetings when they were coming up through the elementary grades and they could not wait to get to sixth grade perform it themselves. When the Lion Dance comes up in conversations with seventh graders, eighth graders, and alumni, those I’m speaking with always claim that their class unquestionably performed the Lion Dance better than all others. The Lion Dance is the pivotal coming of age activity at CAIS and I am delighted that in January of 2023 it will again be performed in-person for the first time since 2020. Another generation of Firedragons will be in awe (and perhaps some a little bit frightened!) by the dancing, tumbling, leaping, cabbage and orange-eating lions and will look forward to their turn to participate in this long-standing CAIS tradition when they get to the Middle School.