During recess and on weekends, the campus of Y Ngong Nie Kdam school is often filled with the sound of bamboo gongs. 7th grader H Doen Ni Adrong, who is a member of the school’s gong team, said that gong playing makes school time more fun. She is proud of her ethnic culture and dreams of one day becoming a teacher of Ede culture.
"I want to play the gong because it is a beautiful part the Ede culture and I want to preserve it and promote it. I have a lot of fun playing the gong with my schoolmates. Starting in the 6th grade, I was able to master 2 gong pieces. I want to become a master gong teacher," said Doen.
Established a year ago, the bamboo gong team of Y Ngong Nie Kdam school consists of 12 male and female students from grade 6 and 7. After 3 months practicing the gong pieces “Calling rain”, “Inviting wine”, and “Celebrating new rice”, these students have mastered the pieces.
7th grader Vo Thanh Ngan says the extracurricular classes satisfy their thirst for culture and music, and help them develop good study habits.
"I’m a Kinh person but I find Ede cultural traditions amazing. I love practicing the gong with my Ede friends. Since the 6th grade, we’ve practiced every Saturday at the school," said Ngan.
|Y Ngong Nie Kdam school's library is designed as a traditional long house of the ethnic group. (Photo: VOV)
In addition to sponsoring a gong team, Y Ngong Nie Kdam school also frequently organizes events that help preserve and promote traditional culture.
According to teacher Nguyen Thu Thuy Ngoc, who is in charge of the school’s Youth Union activities, offering activities and lessons on traditional culture each Monday has been enthusiastically received by both teachers and students.
The students confidently deliver presentations on their culture in both Vietnamese and the Ede language and are excited to take part in every activity organized by the school, she said.
"The students often dress in Ede costumes during class activities and other school events. They are very excited to join in the Ede’s xoang dance. Our school has a new stilt house where they can practice traditional music and dance," said Ngoc.
This academic year Y Ngong Nie Kdam school has 11 classes and more than 320 students, 95% of which are of the Ede ethnic group.
An Ede long house was built on the school campus last August to serve as the school’s traditional house and library. On display inside the house are books and photos of the school and Ede cultural activities over the years. The house has become a favorite place for many students who come here to explore Ede culture, according to Hoang Long Dien, the school’s principal.
"We will maintain those activities, especially those associated with traditional culture, like the gong team and the contests and presentations on Ede culture. These activities should be kept going for all future students," said Dien.