慶祝會首先由培德女校的「Laudamus Te」和「Barcarole」合唱曲揭開序幕，接著聖瑪莉小學帶來一齣影子劇，講述黑奴的歷史。七六歲高齡的 Momoko Shemada 女士身著日本和服、手執紙扇，為大家表演了一段優雅的日本傳統舞蹈；培德中學的四位女生表演了一曲「Sebben Crudele」四重奏；來自「瑪莉迺舞蹈中心」的六位來賓，在老師莎拉‧貝克的指導下，表演了「胡桃鉗」等幾段融合了東西文化之美的芭蕾舞，莎拉老師亦是培德女中校友；育良小學的男生，隨著錄音帶也唱了一首歌。
The eighth annual Cherishing Youth Day on Friday March 31st was the largest ever at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. About 500 people, including over 400 children, attended. Due to the size of the audience, the entire program from 9:45 a.m. till 1:15 p.m. was held in the Five Contemplations Dining Hall. Children from six other schools participated: Calpella Elementary School, Potter Valley Elementary School, Waldorf School of Mendocino County, St. Mary's Elementary School, New Morning Montessori School, and Willits Charter School.
The program began with Developing Virtue Girls School Choir singing
Laudamus Te and Barcarole. The fifth graders from St. Mary's School performed a shadow play about slavery. Mrs. Momoko Shemada, age 76, dressed in kimono and holding a fan, did an elegant Japanese traditional dance. Four girls from Developing Virtue School performed a quartet,
Sebben Crudele. Six girls from Mary Knight Dance Studio performed selections from the
Nutcracker and other ballets, under the direction of Sarah Babcock, a graduate of Developing Virtue Girls School. The Instilling Goodness Boys School played songs on recorder. Then 11th grader Stacy Larkin did stunning gymnastics with four younger girls. Her teacher, Ms. Carol Martinez, teaches gymnastics at the girls school. To end the morning program, the Girls School performed a lovely Ribbon Dance and Umbrella Dance that they choreographed themselves.
At that point, the assembly came into the hall, the meal offering chant was recited, and lunch began. The boys and girls orchestras performed "Archer Dance" and other pieces as the audience enjoyed the delicious vegetarian food prepared by the kitchen. The Abbot, Dharma Master Heng Lyu, welcomed all the guests. Mr. Michael Delbar, our district representative to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, reflected on the value of a day for celebrating children, and recalled that his childhood community had had such a tradition, but that this country seems to have forgotten this tradition. Dr. Tom Macmillan, professor at Mendocino College, commented on a quote from the Chinese
Three Character Classic:
For a child not to learn is not as it should be.
If a person does not learn while young,
what will become of him when he is old?
If jade is not polished, it cannot become a vessel.
If a person does not study, he will not know about righteous duty.
Mr. Tom Rooney, principal of St. Mary's School, said, "You children are our greatest treasure. We live in a society where there's hatred, violence, and racism. Young people, it's really up to you to change that. There's one thing that can change that—one thing that resounds across all cultural, religious, and ethnic lines—and that one thing is love. It is through love of our neighbor, love of ourselves, and love of all that God has given us that we will truly take away the hatred, the violence, the racism, and all that is dividing us as people."
Next the fifth graders from Waldorf School recited a verse "Geometry," played their recorders, and sang a song, "May Wisdom Shine Through Me." Then the first through fourth graders of Instilling Goodness School acted out "The Deer King," a Readers Theater play. The Waldorf second graders sang three songs and recited two verses. The Boys School entertained the crowd with four colorful lions in a spectacular lion dance. The audience held its breath each time a lion climbed onto a high platform and stood on its hind legs to unroll banners with the messages: "Our Teachers Mean the World to Us," "Youth... The Heart of the Future," "Teachers Make Learning Fun."
The Girls School Choir sang John Denver's song about children, "I want to live," and invited all the children to stand and sing with them. Meanwhile, gifts of CTTB's organically grown walnuts were distributed to all the guests. After the Ending of the Meal Ceremony, the assembly moved outside to watch the Boys School Dragon Dance. The long, green dragon winded, spiraled, snaked, and crossed itself, as the boys performed acrobatic feats to applause.
Finally, CTTB's students wished everyone a "Happy Cherishing Youth Day" and invited interested guests to view students' oil pastel and watercolor paintings and Chinese brush paintings on display in Daoyuan Hall next door. This special day of sharing and celebration was made possible by the hard work of all the performers and organizers, as well as the kitchen staff.