2022-2023 CAAM-Stanley Chong scholarship award ceremony and the grand celebration of the 30th anniversary of CAAM CDT (Chinese Dance Theater) was held in the scenic Phalen Park in St. Paul. at 4:00 p.m. on May 28, 2023. At the beginning of the event, Dr. Ping Wang, President of CAAM, delivered an enthusiastic speech and warmly welcomed all the guests. He reviewed the glorious journey since the establishment of CAAM and CAM CDT, and expressed his heartfelt thanks to the volunteers, supporters, and the whole community for their hard work.
Then, Dr. Stephanie Burrage, Chief Equity Officer of the Minnesota State Ethnic Equity Office, which was established in March this year, delivered a congratulatory speech on behalf of Governor Tim Walz, who was unable to participate in person due to a temporary change of itinerary (photo 2). She highly praised the contribution of CAAM to the Minnesota community since its establishment, especially affirmed the positive role of CAAM CDT in spreading Chinese dance culture, strengthening Sino-US folk exchanges, and enriching multi-ethnic art in the United States, and expressed the state government’s firm support for the demands of the Chinese community.
Then came the anticipated scholarship award ceremony. Dr. Zan Gao, Secretary-General of CAAM, first introduced the history, selection criteria and process of the CAAM-Stanley Chong Scholarship and presented award certificates to 16 outstanding graduates from 13 high schools in the Twin Cities region this year with Mr. Shi Peng, director of CAAM, and Dr. Wang Ping. It is reported that these 16 young talents have been admitted by Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Northwestern University, University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Minnesota -Twin Cities (photo 3-4).
After the award certificate was issued, this year’s winners, Lynn Wilcox and Ethan Chen, made acceptance speeches (photo 5 and 6). Two previous winners, Emily Yang from Yale University and Ava Chen from the University of Pennsylvania, were invited to share their college life experience, which is of great enlightenment for new students (photo 7 and 8).
In the talent show of the winners, this year’s winner Steven Yang sang the Chinese song “The Descendant of the Dragon”, showing his outstanding musical talent (Photo 9). Another winner, Amy Chen, who graduated from CAM CDT, brought her wonderful solo dance “Pine, Rock and Stream” (Photo 10). The previous award-winning friends Sydney Peng and Kaelyn Chen were invited to jointly play the famous Chinese Erhu song “Horse Racing” (photo 11).
The finale of the award ceremony was the song “Gratitude” (photo 12) sung by Ms. Xu Qian, a famous soprano in Minnesota. Her passionate voice touched people’s heart, conveying to every guest present the deep affection expressed by CAAM for the generous support of the Chinese community in Minnesota for more than half a century; this song also reflects the winners’ gratitude and praise for CAAM – Stanley Chong scholarship to help them embrace Chinese tradition and seize the opportunity to realize personal dreams.
All these wonderful performances aroused warm applause and cheers from the audience (photo 13).
As Ms. KaiMay Yuan Terry, a famous social activist in Minnesota and former President of CAAM and Chairwoman of CAAM CDT, was invited to the stage to introduce the glorious history and proud achievements of CAAM CDT, marking the official opening of the 30th anniversary celebration of CAAM CDT (photo 14).
In recognition of Ms. Beatrice Rothweiler, the current chairwoman of CAAM CDT, who adopted her Chinese daughter and is enthusiastic about Chinese dance art, for her passion and contributions to CAAM CDT in the past 20 years, was awarded the certificate of ” Honorary Chinese Minnesotan”, in the name of CAAM (photo 15).
After more than an hour of the 30th anniversary celebration of CAAM CDT (the specific program is further introduced in another report), about 300 new and old friends gathered in the Picnic Pavilion of the park for dinner. Thirty large tables decorated with red tablecloths and flowers are full. The hearty and delicious food, fruits and birthday cakes were unanimously appreciated by the guests (Photo 16-20). Some guests said excitedly that this was the first time in decades that they had the opportunity to have dinner with so many Chinese folks on this occasion.
This celebration not only highlights the important role of CAAM and CAAM CDT in promoting Chinese culture, cultivating dance talents, and promoting community integration, but also shows the talent and potential of the younger generation. It is expected that in the future, CAAM can continue to bring more cultural activities and artistic exchanges to the community and bring more wonderful moments to the Chinese community in Minnesota.
Finally, the special thanks need to be expressed to some other board members of the CAAM who have not been mentioned above but have been involved in the preparations for this ceremony, such as Guoqin Li, Lin Shu, Yanhua Wu and Li Tang; Mr. Tu Yongzhong, Chinese chairman of the CAAM CDT, and many CAAM volunteers, especially some scholarship winners’ Parents; Ms. Niu Hui, the well-known MC of the Chinese community, has free control over various programs, and makes the ceremony process like flowing water. Two photographers, Gongping Liu and Huazhi Li, left countless wonderful and unforgettable moments for this ceremony. It can be said that without all the above people’s hard work, the success of this celebration will not be realized. Sumo Grill & Buffet, a restaurant located in Minneapolis, that offered special delicacies for this large dinner, is especially worthy of thanks and recommendation.