The Asian Student Union, an organization open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, preserves and introduces Asian culture to its members and the community. In the past we have attended conferences and workshops for Asian American youths, held many fund-raisers (profits cover costs for Asia Night), sponsored a school dance, and contributed to the fun at Spring Fling. One of the activities planned for the spring is Asia Night, which will be an event in March featuring Asian foods and cultural performances.
Asian Student Union hosted the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Assembly at WHS. The goal of the assembly was to address stereotypes, microaggressions and raise awareness about the diversity of Asians in our community. A variety of performances, from instrumental duets to Chinese yo-yo tricks were presented to showcase the diversity of Asian culture. Co-president Ramesh Nagarajah and co-emcees Lenya Checkovich and Elizabeth Wu introduced the assembly with heartfelt words, each sharing about their own Asian background. Performances included both students and faculty at WHS and an Indian dance group from Boston University. Kicking off the show was a fusion hip-hop dance performed by BU Chaankar. Staying on the pop song theme, harpist Sara Kawai and cellist Margaret Yang played a duet to ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Bieber. Next, world history teacher Michiko Kurata performed a traditional Japanese dance that portrayed her Japanese culture. The talent at WHS continues–violinist Kendrick Kirby-Lee and cellist Leland Ko performed a duet composed by Kendrick himself. Brothers Alex and Andre Chang, incredible Chinese yo-yo performers, brought the audience to a standing ovation. When the Chang brothers began tossing LED yo-yos in the dark, the crowd went wild! On a more serious note, the following Japanese Internment video raised awareness to the hardships Asian Americans have endured throughout history. Finally, Junior Esther Tzau concluded the assembly with a rap from the heart, addressing stereotypes and encouraging Asian students to stand up for themselves. The assembly was an amazing event that inspired and impressed others to be more aware of the Asian culture. Principal Mr. Parker praised the assembly, saying, “you all managed to inspire and impress, rebuke and forgive, teach and provide food for thought, and be relevant and fresh. You were able to accomplish this because you were thoughtful and intentional about what you wanted the rest of us to take away.”
The WHS community is grateful to the performers and the ASU Planning Committee for proving the faculty and student body with such an eye-opening program.