Asian Culture Club Creates A Safe Space And Inclusive Environment For Asian American Students At PCHS

Written By: Shirley Guzman

Amy Zheng, senior, developed the Asian Culture Club this school year at Port Chester High School, adding to the diversity of PCHS’ clubs and creating a space of inclusion for Asian American students.

When Amy first moved to Port Chester from her home in China during second grade, she describes feeling welcome but also “sticking out” due to her Asian background. With Port Chester being a predominantly Hispanic town, it was challenging for Amy to feel like she truly belonged. 

“When you grow up you don’t really know who you are so I tried to fit in and make friends.  I kind of like “erased” my Asian identity, if that makes sense. I kind of hid it, it wasn’t something that I showed or embraced,” she explains. “Over time, it was during middle school and high school that I realized it’s not a bad thing to be different and it’s something I should be proud of.” 

Amy’s struggle with alienation and lacking a sense of belonging unfortunately is the reality for many Asian Americans. Inspired by her experiences and seeing that PCHS had multiple culture clubs, such as the Latinos Unidos Club and the African American Club, Amy was driven to create her own Asian Culture Club. “My main goal was to raise awareness about Asian culture and show people we are a part of this community,” she says. 

With the help of Mr. Raskin and Mr. Kim, two PCHS teachers, the club has been able to successfully get up and running as of this past November. 

“I jumped at the chance because my reasons for doing this are very similar to Amy’s in the sense that there’s not a lot of Asians in the school and I wanted the culture to be represented and for people to see it for what it really is,” shares Mr. Kim. 

So far, the club has been successful and organized its first club fundraiser last month to celebrate Lunar New Year, a Boba Sale, that was also the first sale of its kind at PCHS. The uniqueness of it and advertising by the club garnered more attention from the student body than the club expected, causing the sale to go unexpectedly. 

“It definitely wasn’t as organized as we thought it would be,” says Amy, “it was kind of chaotic.” Many students were left unsatisfied with the sale and complained about not getting fully cooked boba, a long waiting time, and sometimes not receiving their order. At the same time, there were a lot of students complementing the club for the sale and asked when the next one would be. 

But like most things, there was a silver lining to the seemingly disastrous sale. “Seeing all the volunteers, who aren’t even part of the club, come to help during the sale made me feel really happy, I was wowed by how the club brought people together,” Amy shares. Amy also believes the Boba Sale as important because it brought representation to Asian culture with Boba Tea, originating from Taiwan, being an important part of Asian culture. 

Through the sale, the club raised about $250 which they plan on using to plan future sales and events. They also plan on hosting a new and improved Boba Sale in the future with a better execution to prevent students from being disappointed again. Some improvements include preparing Boba Tea the night prior to the sale rather than making them during the sale, which affected the quality of the tea, and having separate selling stations for each flavor. 

Other than Boba Sales, the club hopes to plan more events surrounding different aspects of Asian culture, especially during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month which takes place in May. They especially want to focus on educating students about different cultural holidays, food, and traditions that are not as represented in Port Chester. 

The club members are excited to see how the club will continue to grow, both in numbers and through its impact. If you would like to learn more about Asian culture and support the club, everyone is welcome to attend meetings every Wednesday. 

“I hope that it [the club] will become a safe space for Asian Americans and for people who just want to learn more about Asian culture,” says Amy. “I believe that when people have a better understanding of something, they are just more inclusive.” 

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