Culture Day

The auditorium was surrounded with the most vibrant and festive decorations of hand made flags, stellar paintings representing cultural individuality, colorful ribbons, and balloons. Performance by performance, the stage was constantly filled with dancers who were willing to share their culture among their supportive peers. Some performers were conscious of their steps, but everyone still managed to end with a grand smile.

Culture Day, which was held on Thursday, April 14, during sixth hour, is an assembly that strives to share the different traditions and cultures not recognized on a daily basis.

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Members of ULA and Dance

According to Quincy Yangh, president of Asian Culture Club, the sole purpose of the various performances was to emphasize and showcase the diversity that lies around our school, and around the world. This was an ultimate collaboration between the ethnic minority clubs in our school including: Union Latina (UL), Black Student Union (BSU), Asian Culture Club (ACC), and Anime Club.

The performance started out with an introduction from the presidents of each club and promptly began with an original couple dance routine performed by members of Union Latina. Union Latina contributed to a total of two multiple duo dance performances, both with uplifting music. Brittany Fry and Charlie Paredes sang a sweet and quiet duet in Spanish, along with Alex Aguirre playing the electric guitar.

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Brittney Fry practicing for Culture Day

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Jose Santos performing his Native American piece.

Jose Santos was greeted with great encouragements from audience members as he performed a solo Native American piece with his drum. Quincy Yangh also considered this as the most memorable act. “I believed this performance was truly outrageous because it was something I’ve never seen. Another reason why I will remember this performance forever was because I felt Jose Santos poured his heart and culture into the music that he was sharing.”

Midway through the presentation, Black Student Union also performed a unique duo dance to “Formation” by Beyonce. However, that was not their only contribution to the show.

Later in the presentation, three members of BSU including Feven Gebrezgi, Khani Paredez, and Dejra Bishop stood together on stage and shared a spoken word piece. The

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Feven, Khani, and Dejra preparing for their spoken word piece. Image from Feven Gebrezgi

audience sat in silence as they listened to the trio recall each and every line of Maya Angelou’s famous poem, “Still I Rise”. The firm tones in their voices expressed their definite passion towards the meaning of the poem, which revolved around strength, endurance, and affirmation. The significance of the poem corresponds with current racial conflicts in the US, as it was intended to address the white oppressors of black people.

Senior student Kelly Shanahan also made an astonishing appearance representing her heritage with her brief but still impressive Irish tap dancing routine in her traditional Irish attire. This was the only European culture represented at the event.

The Anime Club played a role towards advertising and promoting the show, as well as arranging the decorations inside of the auditorium.

Next up were ACC’s Thai dancers led and choreographed by Pajaie Thao. As typical, ACC performed two dance performances, one of them representing Thai culture. “The Thai dance focuses on the mixture of traditional and modern moves,” says Quincy Yangh. “It reflects the evolution of how the Thai culture has progressed over the years.” Several people were quite impressed with the performance. “A memorable performance was the Thai dancers,” quoted Feven Gebrezgi, president of BSU, “because they were all so well synchronized.” This was definitely a fact as the five dancers moved in similar movements to Hmong dances in the past, including the graceful yet swift hand gestures and hip movements, and the bright smiles that ran from cheek to cheek.

Several members of Anime Club also joined forces with ACC for the finale act. The performance ended with an upbeat and modern Korean-pop (K-pop) dance led by none other than Shannon Thao. The dance covered a full range of K-pop dance covers from popular Korean songs including “No More Dream” by Bangtan Boys (BTS), “Call Me Baby” by EXO, “The Boys” by Girl’s Generation, and “Bang Bang Bang” by Big Bang. Several K-pop fans among the crowd roared with joy as they watched the performers carry out the complicated but fierce moves across the stage.

What do the clubs hope for students to take away from the performance? “This is the first year Cultural Day has made an appearance at our school,” says Yangh. “We hope that this event gave students the opportunity to acknowledge the different cultures that lies around them. We hope Cultural Day will be passed on to future generations of club leaders. It’d be great if cultures from around our school, and around the world, are shared with the students yearly.”

Yangh also acknowledged the audience members for the notable result of Culture Day. “The most rewarding aspect of the event were the reactions we received from both the audience the participants. Due to success both the audience and the participants encourages us to continue Cultural Day, they also thanked us for the dedication and the amount of effort we provided.” Not only that, but the experience he gained as the president of ACC was also of value. He spent the past months searching for the hidden talents among our student population and continuing communication with other cultural clubs.

Despite the complications towards enforcing and planning the idea of Culture Day and finding willing participants, Yangh is quite satisfied with the outcome of the performance. “Although our actual performance was great, we had a big issue with organization and time management,” says Yangh. “I hope the future generations of leaders contribute more time and effort than I did. This will help promote Cultural Day.”

Gebrezgi is also hoping that the performance would also encourage more participation from HPSH culture club students in the future years to come. “The most rewarding part of the performance was getting to see how well everyone worked together and how proud we felt afterwards.” Both presidents of BSU and ACC would agree that the sense of community built upon the mass collaborations was a valuable gain from the creation of Culture Day. As Gebrezgi would say, “culture = pride”

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