In just their second year of competition, Lesley's Dragon Dreamers took home a top finish in Boston’s Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.
On June 15, 2014, for the second year in a row, Lesley University participated in Boston’s Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. “The 2014 Lesley Dragon Dreamers finished first in their Division, among seasoned teams,” said team captain Dean Papineau. He added that “Our second place finish in the College Challenge is another achievement for the 2014 Lesley crew, finishing in our team best time of 3:07.”
The event is much more than a boat race, however. Originally held as a small event commemorating the death of a beloved Chinese poet and patriot in 200 B.C., the festival is now one of the largest Asian cultural festivals in the New England region, drawing thousands of spectators, artists, performers, and vendors each year. Sixty-two teams competed in this year’s race. From drumming performances to Bollywood dancing and Cambodian cuisine, the festival celebrates the diverse Asian cultural heritage from across East and South Asia.
Last year, it was Dean Catherine Koverola and CIO Daryl Ford that initiated this Lesley tradition. “It’s really about bringing people together to learn about and celebrate different cultures,” Catherine Koverola, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences and Lesley Dragon Dreamers paddler, commented.
“International outreach and scholarship are a central component of Lesley’s strategic plan, and the Dragon Boat Festival invites people from all cultures and backgrounds to broaden their cultural horizons together, as a community. It’s very much aligned with the Lesley spirit of multiculturalism and community-based experience.”
The festival also provides an opportunity for the Lesley community to sustain a sense of teamwork and community during the summer months. “The goal is to take a dozen or more individuals, and turn them into one entity, moving in sync to get the boat through the water as fast and as seamlessly as possible,” Dean Koverola explains. “We have people from all over the University. It’s a rare and wonderful opportunity to build a team and camaraderie.”
The team must be committed to the race, they must prepare at scheduled practices. This year’s practice sessions incorporated elements of mindfulness into the physical training by meditating at the beginning of every training session. “What we accomplish as a team is due to our diverse strengths and sense of connection,” says Koverola. “Paddling is the ultimate team effort,” said Jasmine Martirossian, Director of Online Strategy at Lesley University, “as you have to be in sync with both the captain and the entire team.”
Team Captain Dean Papineau was impressed with the dedicated performance of the whole team: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the 2014 Lesley Dragon Dreamers. Their commitment and hard work have raised the bar towards global community involvement for Lesley community.” The team members chimed in with their special thanks to the support crew members Sandra Walker and Angela Crawford-Erwin, who cheered them on. They were joined by countless Lesley faculty members and administrators, along with team family and friends.
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