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The student news site of Methacton High School

The Windy Hill

The student news site of Methacton High School

The Windy Hill

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Methacton’s Asian Student Association

first+ASA+meeting+turn-out
first ASA meeting turn-out

The Asian Student Association (ASA) opened its doors for its first meeting on Sept 18. It is a brand new club at Methacton but has existed at other schools. Seeking a forum for the Asian community at Methacton, junior Matthew Chung created Methacton’s ASA chapter. The goal of the club is to promote Asian cultural awareness and diversity. Their first meeting, held in Mr. Alzamora’s room, was a showcase of their goals and plans for the future.

 

The meeting hosted approximately 50 students of diverse backgrounds both ethnically and age-wise. The group featured Asian food while officers Matthew Chung, Joanna Chung, Mianna Ly, Josh Yang, Aarya Bhoir, Christina Thomas and Angela Wang discussed future events and goals. Following this was a game of Jeopardy where the four grades competed against one another. 

 

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This game of Jeopardy tested the members’ common and cultural knowledge, ranging from questions about pop culture to trivia about the continent of Asia. The juniors led with the most points going into the final round. In the final round teams got to gamble their scores on a question they didn’t yet know. The question was “What is the capital of Cambodia?” The answer was Phnom Penh, giving the juniors, who bet all of their points and answered correctly, the win.

 

The ASA hopes to lead Methacton into a more diverse and understanding environment.

 

Matthew Chung sat for an interview after the meeting. The transcript was provided by Avinh Ly.

first ASA meeting turn-out (Photo credit: Angela Wang)

Andrew Brickman

So, what is the ASA?

 

Matthew Chung

ASA stands for the Asian Student Association and it’s a club where we create a community for non-Asians and Asians to come together, meet new people and make friends. And we’re also going to be trying to help raise awareness on Asian cultures within our school.

 

Andrew Brickman

So is there a specific purpose of the ASA?

 

Matthew Chung

To make a community for people and also to raise awareness on Asian culture since so many people in the school are Asian and I feel like they’re underrepresented. So I felt like it would be a good idea to start this club so that more people around the school can know about Asian cultures.

 

Andrew Brickman

So when and where does this club meet?

 

Matthew Chung

The club meets in Mr. Alzamora’s room, C229, although that might change in the future, but as of right now, that’s where we meet. And it’s going to be on the third Monday of every month. We also have a Google Classroom and an Instagram.

 

Andrew Brickman

What will the meetings consist of? 

 

Matthew Chung

We will be using [meeting] time to plan for our events [and to] plan for our fundraisers. We could be having some presentations on different cultures in Asia.

 

Andrew Brickman

Why did you choose to start [ASA]?

 

Matthew Chung

There’s so many Asians at this high school and there isn’t an Asian club. I saw the Black Student Union, but I didn’t see any Asian student union. I know people in other school districts and so many of the school districts around us also have Asian student associations, like Wissahickon and North Penn, for example. So I thought it would be a good idea to follow in their footsteps.

 

Andrew Brickman

I heard you had a picnic involving other Asian Student Associations. Besides that, are there any other goals or events that you plan on having?

 

Matthew Chung

Yeah. So one event that we would like to have more towards the end of the year is a culture share where everyone can bring some food. We could have some presentations from different people [who run] karate dojos or maybe [representatives of] temples from around here. And we could just have a bunch of cultures come together and it would be a great learning experience for everyone that went. Another thing that we have planned is a spicy noodle night where we would meet in the cafeteria and we would have a bunch of spicy noodle bowls, and we would give one to everyone and anyone that finished the bowl. They’re very spicy. Anyone that finished them would get a prize of gift cards.

 

Andrew Brickman

Have you received a lot of funding for this year?

 

Matthew Chung

No, we have no funding since we are still an interest group, a student interest group. So it takes three years for a club to go from a student interest group to an official club. And the school does not fund us, but we can use our own money. All the officers are very willing to spend money on this club and their time, which is great.

 

Andrew Brickman

Yeah, I’d like to add to that. So who are the officers this year?

 

Matthew Chung

So this year I am the president. And then Joanna Chung is the vice president. The secretary is Mianna Ly. The treasurer is Angela Wang. And we have public relations, which is Josh Yang and our two social media managers are Aarya Bhoir and Christie Thomas.

 

Andrew Brickman

That’s a lot of juniors and one senior. So what do you think this club’s going to do in the following years? Do you think it’s going to survive after you graduate?

 

Matthew Chung

I think our club is absolutely going to survive after I graduate. So we just had our first meeting and I would say about 50 people came to that meeting, almost 30 percent of which were freshmen. We had a good amount of sophomores there as well. Hopefully when I graduate, I’ll be able to pass on the role of president to someone who is just as dedicated as I am, or even more.

 

Andrew Brickman

So, it sounds like a good first meeting.

 

Matthew Chung

Absolutely. I’m very happy with how it went. We had a great turnout and everyone was engaged and everyone was willing to learn. I know it was. We did Jeopardy! And one of the categories was Asia and everyone was excited. And yeah, it was great.

 

Andrew Brickman

There were a lot of snacks there. Do you think there were some good takes?

 

Matthew Chung

Yeah, I think the snacks were definitely a big motivator in bringing people to come. I think that’s also good because it still promotes Asian culture, because we had Asian snacks. So just because of that, people are learning more about Asian culture. So our first meeting, we already succeeded in one of our goals.

 

Andrew Brickman

Generally, clubs get a lot of members their first day and then the succeeding days they don’t get as many members. Do you think that’s going to happen to your club?

 

Matthew Chung

I don’t think that will be the case with this club. I mean, sure, realistically, there’s probably going to be some people that don’t come back. But I think this club was different. It had a great energy. People had a lot of fun, and the reason that so many people came out for the first time is because I think it’s because people, like Asian people at our school, feel underrepresented. And this gives them a chance to, like, hang out with people like them. You know, it gives them a community. So I think that people are going to be dedicated to this club and people are going to come back.

 

Andrew Brickman

So what’s interesting is that you’re not only having Asian people in, you’re having diversity. So how do you see this affecting your club? Are you trying to combine everyone just to push for Asian diversity?

 

Matthew Chung

Yeah. So I think it’s great that non-Asian people also came today because I think it’s a sign that in the future there will also be non-Asian people participating in our events. And that’s exactly what we want. We want to help non-Asian people learn more about our culture. Non-Asian people might not know about, may not understand where other people are coming from. And this gives us a chance to show them that.

 

Andrew Brickman

And then how do you think the ethnic makeup was? I heard mentions of especially Koreans and Indians and some other Asian communities not being completely represented. So what is your take on the ethnic diversity of the club?

 

Matthew Chung

I think it was pretty representative of our community. I think, in fact, in high school, there’s a large Indian population. There’s also a large Chinese population, there’s a significant Korean population and also a significant Southeast Asian population. I mean, I’m not here to track the demographics of my club, but I think in general it seemed pretty representative of our school.

 

Andrew Brickman

Okay. And do you have any other thoughts to add on to.

 

Matthew Chung

Come to the meetings. If you want to have fun, meet new people.

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