Dennis Earl students celebrate Assyrian New Year

Assyrian Queen Sofia Yonan enters the Dennis Earl Elementary school cafeteria during a special assembly in honor of the Assyrian New Year on Friday.

nangel By Nancy Angel Education Reporter 209-634-9141 ext. 2003

Dennis Earl Elementary students got a taste of Assyrian culture on Friday when they celebrated the Assyrian New Year. The kindergarten through sixth grade classes attended a special assembly with a blend of Assyrian treats, cultural dances and student presentations.

“In Turlock we have more than 10,000 Assyrian residents,” said Earl Community Liaison Caty Eileen Nariman. “We are very involved in the community and it’s important to teach the language, heritage, and culture to the rest of the world. “

Nariman, who also teaches Assyrian conversational courses at Turlock Adult School, has been coordinating special assemblies in honor of the Assyrian New Year at Dennis Earl for the past three years.

“We have an immense population of Assyrian students at Earl so it’s important we celebrate our culture,” said Nariman. “Through these cultural events we’ve been able to increase involvement throughout the community.”

Students at Dennis Earl performed dances, recited the Assyrian alphabet, and spoke about the history of the Assyrian culture. Audiences were in for a special treat when Assyrian Queen Sofia Yonan, who is also a Dennis Earl student, introduced the New Year.

“One thing that makes Dennis Earl special is that we have children from all over the world,” said Principal Tami Truax. “Celebrating and embracing culture is what this school is all about.”

Turlock Mayor John Lazar also spoke at the assembly, honoring his Assyrian roots and sharing his culture with the community.

“Cultural diversity is the hallmark in the Turlock community,” said Lazar. “It’s exciting to see that other schools are acknowledging our heritage.”