A gift of learning from overseas

A distant land was introduced to the fifth and sixth graders of Cameo Draper’s class at Crescenta Valley Adventist School Wednesday morning when the students played with a box of toys and games that had been shipped from Taiwan.

The La Crescenta school was one of more than 1,000 Adventist schools across North America that received such a box to encourage children to celebrate the centennial of Taiwan — officially known as the Republic of China.

The official name of China is the People’s Republic of China.

The square-shaped box from the Republic of China’s Centenary Foundation was filled with puppets, rice-filled hacky sacks, a cake mold, modern photographs, music, and a game similar to Pogs.

Three representatives from the Republic of China’s Centenary Foundation visited Crescenta Valley Adventist School on Wednesday to watch the children interact with the toys.

Robert Christensen, a project manager with the foundation, conceptualized the idea of the box when the foundation wanted to create something to share with the world, and they settled on North America.

“At its core, we want to let people know about a place that is very small and very beautiful,” he said.

The box also included a handmade wooden structure of a traditional street with a temple, shops and figures. There was also music by A-Mei, a major female pop music icon in Taiwan, in addition to modern postcard photographs of Taipei’s cityscape at night that had a few students in awe ask aloud, “This is Taiwan?”

Sixth-grader Julianna O’Malley spent time playing with puppets with friends.

“I’ve played several of the games, they’re very fun. I like the rice bag game,” she said.

Principal Cameo Draper, whose grandfather and father spent years in Taiwan as missionaries, said she was thrilled to see her students enjoying themselves as they explored the games.

“Our goal next week and the week after is to really just dive in, and they’re excited,” she said.

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