"Chinese-language schools have been an integral part of the Chinese immigrant community in the United States, and in the Chinese diaspora worldwide. In the United States, Chinese-language schools date back to the late 1880s, having survived legal exclusion and associated adversarial circumstances.
Just like other ethnic-language schools in German, Scandinavian, Jewish, Greek, and Japanese immigrant communities, Chinese-language schools in much of the pre-World War II era aimed to preserve language and cultural heritage in the second and succeeding generations."
After-School Institutions in Chinese and Korean Immigrant Communities: A Model for Others? By Min Zhou and Susan S. Kim,University of California, Los Angeles
After arriving in the United States my grandfather worked with the Methodist Pacific Chinese Mission in Stockton teaching and preaching. Here is a copy of the renewal of his "Local Preacher's License" dated August 23rd 1924.
Here is a picture of my grandfather and grandmother with their sons Johnny and Andrew 1923. My uncle Andrew was born on November 25, 1922 in Stockton , San Joaquin County , California.
The Methodist Episcopal Church had an active mission in Stockton at the time.
Interestingly there were many Chinese in Stockton who like the Kwoks were from the Heungshan (Chungsan) area of China so the Kwoks would have felt very much at home.
In Sacramento my grandfather accepted a position as head teacher in a budding Chinese language school being started there, the Kwai Wah School . "Immigrants Fong Sik,Chan Tai Oy, and Fong Bun Wall started the school by renting an old house on P street between Fourth and Fifth in the Spring of 1924. Kwok Wai Shing from the Methodist Mission was engaged to be the teacher.""The Kwai Wah School purchased and remodeled an old house for their use on 519 N Street on December 13, 1926 and named it the Chinese Christian Church with Kwok Wai Shing conducting religious services."
Here is an early picture of the school in the late 1920's.
Here are some other pictures from the late 1920s to early 1930's
This photo is taken on the California State Capitol grounds.
Here is a picture of the first senior graduating class of the Kwai Wah School on July 5th 1930.
The gentleman with the suit and dark round glasses in the back row on the left is Fong Sik , one of the founders of the school who figures prominently in the other pictures as well. My grandmother Ko Po Yung , and my grandfather Wai Shing are in the back row on the right.
"Kwok Wai Shing was not actually a minister, so on August 16,1931 the Chinese Christian Union in San Francisco held a ceremony at the Chinese Presbyterian Church and officially ordained Kwok Wai Shing." Canton Footprints, Sacramento's Chinese Legacy by Philip P. Choy , 2007
Here is a picture of of the ordination ceremony of Reverend Kwok Wai Shing.
Here is a photo of the growing Kwok family circa 1930. My uncles Johnny and Andy, and my aunt Sarah, and the little baby is my mom Alice.