For five-year-old Ella “Fei Li” Chenoweth, Troy University’s Chinese New Year Celebration provided an opportunity to sample her homeland and some of its culinary delights such as Kung Pao Chicken, MuShu Pork and “Ants Climbing a Tree.”
Chenoweth, the adopted daughter of TROY alumna Nicole Chenoweth of Dothan, is Chinese. This year marked her second visit to Chinese New Year’s celebration at TROY; and, together with friends from a tutoring group, she performed a song that was translated into Chinese.
“When we first started the adoption process, we were afraid there wouldn’t be any Chinese programs available for Ella because we lived in such a small area,” said Nicole Chenoweth. “I am so grateful that TROY has given us the opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture together as a family.”
TROY alumnus Ricky Peak and his wife Sherry, also are grateful for the annual celebration at the University. The Dothan couple’s four-year-old adopted daughter Sophia is Chinese.
“We were so happy when the adoption group told us about the event,” said Sherry Peak. “We thought it was a neat way to provide the Chinese culture to Sophia. Because of the celebration at Troy University, she can be exposed to her original roots.”
The University’s Department of International Programs, along with the Chinese Student and Scholar Association and the Confucius Institute at Troy University, collaborated with Chinese students to bring Chinese cuisine and entertainment to the community.
“Our New Year Celebration is a time for families to come together,” said Mandi Shi, a sophomore Chinese student at TROY. “This is China’s biggest celebration.”
Another mother from the tutoring group, Tricia Dumas and her husband Anthony adopted two girls from China into her family.
“You’d be surprised at how many families there are in Dothan that have adopted children from China,” she said, noting that her daughters and others in the group are learning Mandarin Chinese under tutor Han Kang Ning in Dothan. “This celebration is great not only for the students, but also for the community.”