Sharing Culture and Wishing Every Young Person Well

By Office of Communications
Employee News
February 08, 2024

Sara Tae — pictured above with families and family liaisons, second from the left in the front row — has worked in the Family and School Partnerships office for more than 18 years. As a member of the cultural outreach team, she enjoys supporting families and the community by providing connections and resources. In her cultural outreach role, Sara has led many cultural initiatives and was the inaugural Korean podcaster for the FCPS Multilingual Family Podcast.

During COVID, she collaborated with a local Korean radio station to help deliver essential information in a way that families could easily understand. She helped them understand concepts like synchronous and asynchronous learning to support their students better while learning virtually. 

“I have had the privilege to work collaboratively with a diverse group of FCPS families, staff, and community organizations who all share a common goal of ensuring student success,” Sara says. “As part of this meaningful journey, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with each family, staff, and community member who tries to meet each student's potential in the best way possible.”

Sara has also led learning opportunities as a member of her office's equity team. She enjoys connecting with staff and families by sharing her Korean culture. 

We recently invited her to share some of her favorite Lunar New Year memories with FCPS employees. Lunar New Year is a celebration of community. During this time, families gather to eat feasts and practice cultural traditions.

"A favorite Lunar New Year memory is when we gave our parents, grandparents, and relatives a deep bow of respect called Sebae and then received money in an envelope from them with their wishes on well-being, which I pass down to future generations," she shared.  

“Eating Tteokguk (rice cake soup) is another New Year's Day tradition,” she continued. “Starting the new year with a clean body and mind. Living long is like eating a long rice cake. Your wealth will increase if you eat rice cake pieces shaped like coins.”

This year, Sara has invited some families from her church to eat rice cake soup with her “to wish us all another great year together.”

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities; as well as many others. It is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar, which begins on Saturday, February 10, this year. 

The number of celebration days and name of the holiday varies among Asian countries. China’s Lunar New Year is known as the Spring Festival or Chūnjié in Mandarin. Koreans call the holiday Seollal and Vietnamese call it Tết.

Sara TaeCurrently, Sara serves as secretary of the FCPS Asian Educators' Association, which also funds scholarships for FCPS students. 

Sara enjoys being able to collaborate with her FCPS colleagues to create “an inclusive and welcoming environment by fostering open communication, treating everyone with respect, and creating opportunities for everyone to succeed,” she says. “Building a school community where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their background,” is what she finds most rewarding about her work. 

Sara enjoys teaching others about her own culture and that of other Asian American groups. 

“Although Asian Americans are one of the largest and fastest-growing populations in America, there is a lack of representation for Asian Americans in American society in general, which impacts our students' ability to reach their full potential,” Sara said. “Asian Americans have a myriad of different cultures. These diverse Asian American voices should be heard, and their stories should be told.”