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Inclusivity and appreciation: the Asian Student Association

Welcoming+members+from+all+backgrounds%2C+the+club+meets+bi-weekly+and+focuses+on+appreciating+various+aspects+of+Asian+culture+in+a+fresh%2C+unique+and+entertaining+way.+%E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s+fun+and+you+get+to+meet+new+friends%2C%E2%80%9D+Ramos+said.+%E2%80%9CWe+get+to+learn+about+different+parts+of+Asia+and+participate+in+activities+and+make+new+foods.+We+plan+to+have+people+bring+food+from+their+culture.%E2%80%9D
Photo provided by: Lily McGreevy
Welcoming members from all backgrounds, the club meets bi-weekly and focuses on appreciating various aspects of Asian culture in a fresh, unique and entertaining way. “It’s fun and you get to meet new friends,” Ramos said. “We get to learn about different parts of Asia and participate in activities and make new foods. We plan to have people bring food from their culture.”

As the new school year kicked off with a bang, so did one of the campus’ latest club arrivals: the Asian Student Association (fondly referred to as ASA). Founded by art history teacher Ronni-Marie Villaneuva, the club meets every other Tuesday in room 5-024 and provides an opportunity for students, no matter their descent, to come together and appreciate Asian culture. 

Stepping inside Villaneuva’s classroom, one is instantly met with a comfortable, warm environment. With vibrant decorations, lots of open space and often some music playing in the background, one of the club’s main goals is to create a welcoming, safe space for students who may not always feel connected with their school. 

“Yesterday was one of our first meetings, and there were kids singing karaoke and songs in Vietnamese,” Villaneuva said.

Many students feel overlooked while they are attending high school or have a hard time feeling close to the people around them. This can oftentimes stem from a feeling of disconnectedness from their peers, or a feeling of not being able to relate to other students. The ASA aims to combat these feelings of isolation by providing a fun outlet to meet and get to know people from all types of backgrounds. 

“I didn’t have this growing up, and I grew up in a very similar area,” Villanueva said. “There was not a lot of representation of kids like me until I got to college. I went to UCF, and they had an ASA and I joined that immediately. I felt like I had a place to belong finally, and I wanted to bring that [here].”

With the first few meetings of the club serving to prep for elections, officer elections were finally held on Sep. 19. Candidates, regardless of whether or not they were opposed, had to create campaign material to present to the club at the meeting before the officer positions were eventually voted on. 

“I grabbed my friends and recorded a silly little campaign video,” treasurer Ethan Yoon said. “I was super happy when I won uncontested.”

Despite their new status at the school, the club has big plans for the rest of the year and is excited to continue expanding and increasing student involvement. 

“I hope to bring everyone together,” club president Gabrielle Ramos said. “As the president of [the club], I just want to be able to give everyone a chance to be included in the club. I want everyone to be inclusive and I want everything to be organized.”

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About the Contributor
Annaliese Long
Annaliese Long, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Annaliese Long is a third year staff member and Editor-in-Chief of the Brantley Banner. She is also a member of various clubs and honor societies such as Latin Club, Quill and Scroll Honor Society, National Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys creative writing, reading novels and Wikipedia articles and listening to music. She plans to become a music journalist when she’s older, combining her two passions of music and writing into one job. She is grateful to be a part of the publication as it has helped her gain experience she will need to excel in this career. 
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