The Valley’s explosive Asian population growth is providing some new opportunities for schoolchildren, from field trips to afterschool classes.
According to a 2005 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Phoenix-Mesa metropolitan area’s Asian population has grown by 46 percent since 2000, the third-highest growth rate in the nation.
The increasing variety of ethnic festivities and restaurants will allow the students of the new Asian Awareness Club at Dobson High School to experience Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese culture firsthand, said club adviser Gavin Regnaert.
Members hope to volunteer in the community, as well as attend upcoming events such as the Asian Moon Festival, he said.
There are also a number of Asian businesses along the Dobson corridor that students can visit.
For example, Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket, 2520 N. Dobson Road, has drawn classes from as far away as south Phoenix when teachers are looking for field trips to teach about Asian culture and cuisine.
The Asian community is creating more formal education opportunities, too.
In May, four Chinese-American women opened up the Chinese Art Academy in Chandler.
Children come after school from as far away as north Scottsdale to learn Chinese painting, dance and language. The women also run a bilingual day care and preschool.
“Lots of adopted children in America, their parents were frustrated about how to get those kids from China continually learning their culture, to know their roots,” said teacher Diana Ho. “Also, a lot of kids come here to learn Chinese. The parents say because China is a big market, it’s good for their children’s future.”