Club Connects Students with East Asian Culture
As the bell for Flex Time rings, students begin assembling in the classroom of Ed Bolton, chemistry teacher. They aren’t gathered for a review session or to work on a project. Rather, they are attending an informational meeting for East Asian Student Association (EASA), founded by seniors Ella Lee and Sarena Yeung.
In the future, Lee said club meetings will consist of a range of activities including games, food and films. Lee said her vision for EASA was to create a stronger community for East Asian students. Above all, Lee said she hopes everyone enjoys themselves while they are participating in the club.
“Right now, I feel like many East Asians are all in different groups, so we seem a little disconnected and smaller,” Lee said. “In reality, we make up a fairly decent portion of MHS, so I think it would be good to pull everyone together and just feel like one big family.”
Lee said she is excited to share her culture with everyone and make people aware of everyone’s different backgrounds and traditions. One of the biggest challenges in starting the club was finding the right time to host meetings. Lee said meetings will be held biweekly on Fridays after school.
“A lot of people are very busy, so just finding the perfect time when the majority of people are able to come and enjoy the club has been sort of difficult,” Lee said.
Claire Zhang, senior, said while she is looking forward to watching shows and trying out different foods, she is also excited to connect with other students through the club.
“A lot of my friends are Asian to begin with, but when we’re together, we don’t necessarily talk about our culture,” Zhang said. “We just talk about regular things, so this will provide an opportunity to bond over something that we all have in common.”
Zhang said the club can help provide a chance for people who may feel isolated in other classes due to their cultural background to come together and bond.
Bolton serves as the sponsor of EASA and said the club is a great way for students to both connect with their own culture, as well as to learn about the cultures of other students at the school.
“MHS is really great because it has so many different people from so many different cultures who go to school here,” Bolton said. “Sometimes it’s easy for a student to either get lost and separated from their own culture and sometimes people are just curious and would like to learn from others.”
Bolton said he is looking forward to learning more about East Asian culture through sponsoring the club. Bolton taught both Yeung and Lee in class and was more than happy to sponsor the club when they approached him about it.
“There is a lot going on there that has been of interest to me my whole life, whether it is art or music,” Bolton said. “Just hearing about my students and what their everyday lives are like is fascinating to me.”
Bolton said any club always faces challenges and growing pains in figuring out how to get the word out and keep people involved. However, he said this provides a unique experience for students to learn skills that will benefit them in the future.
“That’s one of the cool opportunities of starting a club,” Bolton said. “The leaders and members get to figure that out on their own, and you don’t really have opportunities to really do that as a student because most of the time there’s a grown up making decisions. All I’m doing is providing a room and they get to figure it all out.”
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