Georgetown District High School held a Chai House event last week (May 27) to celebrate Asian Heritage Month and students say they are thankful to have been given an opportunity to participate to showcase their culture.
The one-hour long Chai House involved students highlighting various parts of their Asian culture. The idea was borne from the school’s Asian Heritage Month Committee and featured four dance performances including one from the school's Bhangra Club. Students also handed out hard candy imported from India to reflect the culture.
Grade 11 student Harini Sivagumar was thrilled to have been a part of it.
“Since GDHS is growing in diversity, we thought we’d show representation of any people of colour so future students will feel welcomed,” she says, noting her family background is Sri Lankan Tamil.
Teacher Rachel Menka says this event was student-driven, which makes it even more meaningful.
“They wanted a way to showcase and teach about a variety of Asian culture, and took inspiration from our school's coffee house to create the Chai House,” she says. “Out of this, they formed our Bhangra Dance Club, which met weekly to choreograph a performance. The Asian Heritage Month Committee also met weekly, and had around 30 student volunteers. I thought that the performances were incredible and students who attended were able to learn a lot about music, dance, food and other cultural aspects of Asia. The plan is to run this event again next year.”
The event connected to the HDSB's 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan
’s ‘Equity and Inclusion’ area of focus, says teacher Kyle O’Neil.
“We wanted to help students and staff enhance their understanding of the rich variety of places, customs and cultures in the continent of Asia,” he says. “We also wanted students of Asian heritage to have the opportunity to feel comfortable sharing and celebrating their identities as part of the mosaic of our student body. The inspiring efforts of these students helped to enhance the positive and supportive learning environment for all at GDHS.”