When Weston's Grace Brennan opened the doors to her home-based Happy Panda Mandarin School in June, she could not have imagined such explosive growth in a year. Demand for her Chinese language and cultural program for both children and adults has skyrocketed and forced Brennan to relocate to a larger facility.
She is moving to space in Wilton Center, 5 River Road, directly behind Starbucks. A native of China, Brennan grew up in Shanghai, where she was a national fencing champion at age 12. She moved to the United States in the mid-90s to attend the College of San Mateo, where she majored in business and studied English as a second language. She returned to Shanghai and began a career in real estate management and met her American husband, Jason, who was working in Hong Kong. They married and stayed overseas until returning to the States in 2004.
Now a mother of three, Brennan wanted to bring her native tongue and Chinese culture to her family and beyond. "My children are my inspiration and have fueled my passion to teach Mandarin Chinese and share my cultural traditions."
During her time in Fairfield County, Brennan has noticed an interest in Mandarin partially because of families with parents or adopted children of Chinese origin. Brennan's school combines language and cultural instruction. "Chinese is not yet offered in the Wilton school curriculum, so Happy Panda is thrilled to bring this service to the community," said Brennan. "Since our 2010 opening, interest in my program has grown tremendously, and I wanted to accommodate students on the waiting list."
The new location's grand opening will take place Thursday, May 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. Happy Panda has rolling admission and registration for year-round classes and the summer camp is open. For more information, attend the May 5 grand opening, check the school website , call Grace Brennan at 203-227-8088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Would you like to study Mandarin Chinese and culture? Would your kids be interested? Leave comments below.
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