Oakland – More than 200 supporters of Yu Ming Charter School came together this past Saturday, March 29, to enjoy a night of fun, excitement and lively bidding at the school’s third annual fundraising gala.
Participants gathered to ring in the Year of the Horse and to help give thanks for the young school’s early successes, including a steady growth in student enrollment and an inaugural API score of 944 last year.
Yu Ming is the first Mandarin-immersion K-8 public charter school in the state, opening its doors in Oakland Chinatown’s Shoong Family Chinese Cultural Center in the fall of 2011 after its charter received a unanimous vote of approval from the Alameda County Office of Education. Last year, the school moved to its current site in North Oakland to accommodate a burgeoning student population. More than 200 students are now enrolled in grades K-3.
Yu Ming’s mission includes the goal of making Mandarin immersion education available to students of all backgrounds, regardless of household income. Since Yu Ming opened, it has attracted a diverse mix of students from almost 20 different cities across the East Bay.
The school used the gala to thank several leaders in the Asian American community “who had paved the way for schools like ours to succeed,” said Founding Principal Laura Ross.
They recognized John Loh of Loh Realty & Investments for his leadership in business, his role in bringing the Pacific Renaissance Plaza to the heart of Oakland Chinatown and revitalizing the Chinatown community. Carl Chan of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce was honored for being an outstanding community leader. Joe Shoong, in memoriam, was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his unparalleled dedication to Chinese education.
Ted Dang and Francis Lan from the Shoong Family Chinese Cultural Center’s board accepted the award on behalf of the Shoong family. “Yu Ming is a successful modern example of the legacy of Joe Shoong: to offer the children of our community the opportunity to learn Chinese language and culture,” Dang said.
“The gala is our most important event of the year when we can get together as a community, share our success, and raise money for our future,” Ross said. “This year, we are thrilled to have so many members of the Chinese American community join us.”
Attendees included Former Piedmont Mayor John Chiang, Alameda City Council Member Stewart Chen, San Leandro City Council Member Benny Lee, Former Vice Mayor Henry Chang, and BART Board Director Robert Raburn. Yu Ming also welcomed guests from Recurrent Energy, a San Francisco-based developer of solar energy projects, and a major sponsor of the gala.
Preliminary estimates indicate approximately $140,000 was raised. The funds will support staffing needs as well as allow for a music program to be started.
More information about Yu Ming’s innovative Mandarin-immersion education model is available online at www.yumingschool.org. There, you can find ways to help the school continue to provide a world-class education to children of all diverse backgrounds.