Ithaca, NY - On July 11th, the Corning Dragon Warriors took a plunge into the shimmering Finger Lakes to participate the dragon boat race at the Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival. Since 2006, this affair took place during the beautiful summer season in Ithaca annually. The relatively short history of Finger Lakes Dragon Boat Festival has a much longer cultural heritage behind it. In memory of the ancient Chinese patriot Qu Yuan, the Duanwu Festival, popularly known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is an important tradition observed by East Asian people since more than 2000 years ago, and is becoming more popular worldwide due to the dragon boat race.
Despite the ten-year history of this annual event, this is the first year a team representing Corning's ethnic group participated in the race. With Corning’s spirit of endeavor and strong teamwork, Corning warriors really stood out during all the four races they participated and were awarded the bronze medal in the community team competition. To achieve this goal, Corning Chinese Association and MTE Asian & Latin Group put together a team that consists of 25 Corning employees and their family members, who had grown into competitive dragon boat racers only after three training sessions before the race.
“What I have seen is a great group of people who shows high team spirit and grows stronger and stronger through one practice to another. The most impressive thing is our last 500m race in which we have significantly improved our time by more than 10 seconds! It can’t be done without the unite efforts from each of you.” Jia Zhang, the team captain said after the race.
The groups also reached out to this year’s Corning summer interns and offered them this unique opportunity to experience Corning’s core values. As Jerry Cheng, one of crew members and Corning summer intern said, “I feel honored, as an intern, to embark for the race and for the best of it. Physically, I felt that strength when we were giving our full power to inch up in the race. How fast the boat moves really depends on our synchronization, so it is of the same importance as individual effort to keep in the same pace as your fellow warriors. I understand it better that at Corning people move forward in a team and this is something rooted in our DNA.”
The Saturday event is a great success thanks to the cheer leading and logistic volunteers as their hard work offered many Corning employees and their families a unique experience of combining: the celebration of Asian heritage, the team-building experience, the thrilling races, the leisure time with families and friends, and the genuine homemade Chinese food.