Bullhead City Panda Express celebrates the Chinese New Year with Carrie Rueden’s second-grade class at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center on Thursday. Shown with the students are Rueden; David Flores, Bullhead City Panda Express general manager; Gabriela Moreno, of Bullhead City Panda Express; and Jonathan Martinez, the restaurant chain’s area manager.

BULLHEAD CITY — It was a celebration of the Chinese New Year in Mrs. Carrie Rueden’s second-grade class at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center on Thursday.

The celebration was a couple of days early — Chinese New Year this year falls on Saturday; 2020 will be the Year of the Rat 

Not only was it a class celebration, but representatives from Panda Express were there as well to observe the occasion with the students as Rueden continued lessons on world cultures.

“One of our values at Panda Express is to give back to the community in any way we can,” said Jonathan Martinez, area manager.

“This is about giving back to the community and, it’s important for us to take part in our local community,” said David Flores, Bullhead City Panda Express general manager.

One of the activities that Flores brought to show the students was a video on a couple of the traditions that people observe during the Chinese New Year. At the end of the video, Flores asked a couple of questions about the video and when the student got it right, they would recover either a football, a panda plush toy, a frisbee or a free kids meal voucher.

“I just like to see all the kids with big smiles on their faces and being happy,” said Flores. “It’s a joy to be here and share the Chinese culture with these kids.”

The students also received a Panda Express bookmark; if the students read five books they can redeem it for a fee kids meal.

Toward the end of the activity, Flores said that he had brought with him some chow mein noodles with orange chicken from Panda Express so the students could eat Chinese food to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

“I’m very grateful that they came today because it makes the lesson real,” said Rueden. “I could teach all day about culture but this was a nice way to solidify the study of culture. When I approached them (Panda Express) for them to do something like this, Flores quickly said that they will gladly do it and they would do it for free.”

To thank those who came from Panda Express, the students created a couple of words in Chinese, including their names, and gave it to them.

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