It’s February 10th, Lunar New Year is just around the corner. Steyning Grammar Schools Boarding facility uses this as an opportunity to allow their Chinese borders to take control, and let them bring their culture into what they’ve learnt to call “home”.

17 year old Harry Cheung lives in Hong Kong with his parents when the isn’t in England. He’s is now in Year 12, and has been the sole organiser of Steynings’ Chinese New Year for the past four years.

“Can you describe to me a typical Chinese New Year in Boarding?” I asked him, I had my paper in front of me and my pen was poised.

“After all the preparation, there’s a huge expanse of food, all cooked by us, to feed everyone in boarding. That’s over one-hundred people not including guests. After food and drinks we have to perform a “Lion Dance” which consists of someone controlling the light switch so we can have dramatic flashing lights and another on the drums.” He laughs, before continuing with a hint of embarrassment. “Then two of us make our way around the canteen under a dragon costume. I’m always at the front. When we complete a lap of the canteen I get lifted up into the air by the person behind me, then I throw a sign while drums play behind me.”

It was an impressive story, one that made me wonder how such a small percentage of boarding cook such vast quantities of food? Harry tells me that it’s up to him to organise meetings beforehand, create menus, find recipes and go shopping for ingredients. “I usually take a few helpers” he explains, but it seems clear he takes charge and leads the way.

“You go to such great lengths to organise this every year” I told him with a hint of admiration. “What compelled you to take the lead.”

“It wasn’t so much by choice,” he admits. “I was taught four years ago by Matthew, a year 13. When the left, I had been given his knowledge of popular dishes, how to make the most of others and create enthusiasm. I guess I just picked up the batton.”

He finishes by telling me it’s a chance for the Hong Kong borders to feel comfortable, and connect with traditions from home. Chinese New Year in Hong Kong has fairgrounds, huge family meals and gifts of money from adults. “It’s the biggest celebration of our culture. Perhaps how English people celebrate Christmas” It became clear to me then how exciting it must be to partake in such a culture during this exciting time. I thanked him for his time, and allowed him to continue his preparations. He had just cooked the trial run of their meal, and had fiver hours to gather troops for their big finale.