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First Greenery Arts school in the U.S. opening in American Fork

Published: Friday, May 18 2012 12:08 p.m. MDT

AMERICAN FORK — Greenery Arts, a company that promotes music, language and cultural education, is opening a new branch in American Fork.

Greenery Arts will be holding an open house to introduce its Mandarin-language program to the community May 19.

The school was originally opened by Dr. Wai Tat Wong in Hong Kong in 1988. According to its website, the school's purpose is to not only educate students in music and art, but also improve the quality of their character through mental and physical health, as shown in its motto: "Strengthening Minds, Enriching Lives."

The branch in American Fork is the first to open in the United States. It will be holding Mandarin classes this summer to review what students in the 17 Chinese immersion programs in Utah public schools have been learning during the school year and will also offer courses for those who have never learned Mandarin before.

Joyce Tan, company general manager, said Greenery Arts offers classes for 4-year-olds through 99-year-olds and will even have classes for the parents of Chinese immersion students to help them know how to assist their children with homework.

Michelle Wong, company president and daughter of the company’s founder, said one of the main purposes of the new branch in the United States is to promote cultural awareness.

“I hope Americans will love to learn about the Chinese culture,” Wong said. “When we come to the same level of understanding about each other we will realize that we are the same.”

Wong said it is through mutual understanding that people will be able to create a more harmonious world.

“We want to have students who will grow up from our program with the ability to influence others in the world for good internationally,” Tan said. “We’re not just teaching the language. We’re teaching cultural understanding and peace.”

In addition to its language classes, Greenery Arts will host a cultural exchange program for the music and drama students in China. They will be able to perform on the East and West coasts and stay with families in Utah.

Nancy West is currently an instructor for the Chinese immersion program at Wasatch Elementary and is also the program director and head teacher at Greenery Arts. She said she is excited for the unique opportunity to participate in this program.

“We all have a very unified goal,” West said. “We really care about education and really want to do the best for the community.”

Eventually, the company also plans to teach art, dance and music classes, including classes in Chinese musical instruments.

Greenery Arts is located on 131 S. 700 East in American Fork. It can be contacted at 801-763-1053 or online at greeneryarts.net.

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