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BCC cultural festival led by Island teen

Bellevue Community College will host its fifth multi-cultural festival this Saturday, May 5. The director is a Mercer Island teenager.

Kristy Chan, 17, is a Running Start student at BCC. She serves as the Community and Campus Relations Representative in student government, the position that has the task of organizing the annual event.

She said that for her, this is more than a job.

“I want to do this, not only for the campus, but for people around BCC, for Mercer Island, Bellevue and Renton,” she said. “I want people to know the cultures and what is out there.”

Chan stays connected to her Chinese heritage through speaking Cantonese, writing to relatives and doing internships and volunteer projects in China and Hong Kong,

She spent last summer interning at a large hotel in Hong Kong. In December, she traveled to China to teach English to blind students through Rainbow Missions.

Her parents, Raymond and Bonnie, moved to Canada from Hong Kong at separate times when they were in high school and college, then to the United States seven years ago.

Putting the festival together has been a learning experience, Chan said, with teamwork being the main lesson.

“I have learned how to work with people, especially how close you must be to be able to work well and smoothly,” she said. “I learned how to pull a community together and especially all the different cultures.”

More than 4,000 people attended last year’s festival and this year the hope is for more. The theme is “Cultures of our Community.”

The festival will include a parade and booths from more than 30 vendors and organizations. Ongoing arts activities will be offered for children and adults. There will also be an interfaith discussion and planetarium shows.

A separate kids’ fair, with a puppet show and dancing by an Indian troupe and an African group, will be held nearby.

Performances will feature dancers, martial arts and music from around the globe.

An international market will be open during the entire festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The campus cafeteria will be open.

The event is free and will be held mostly in and around the BCC cafeteria.

With the fair just days away, Chan isn’t worried, just excited.

“I’m not stressed out, I have a lot of people helping me and they are all very hard workers. It’s more like excitement,” Chan said.

Chan will graduate from Mercer Island High School in June and also receive an associate of arts degree, which is focused on business.

She will enter the University of Washington next year, and hopes to majoring in music and business. After college she wants to travel abroad and experience even more cultures before she settles into a career.

The event takes place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the BCC main Campus. Go to www.bcc.ctc.edu for more information,

Justus Hyatt is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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