Great Opportunities to Learn About Culture at the Science Academy
by Emily Corona
The Science Academy has some excellent clubs focused on culture to offer the student body, all aiming to create a welcoming and educational environment. The clubs themselves are open to everyone from all backgrounds and are all outstanding learning opportunities. The clubs serve to provide a space to empower students of different cultures, all the while unifying the rest of the student body. Students have the opportunity to attend three different cultural clubs: the LatinX Student Union, the Jewish and Israeli Club, and the Christian Club. Each club offers a helpful insight into their respective cultures with their affable leaders and community members. Students are encouraged to visit these clubs and explore the unique cultures of their peers.
The LatinX Student Union, headed by 11th graders Chloe Montalban, Yedid Vargas, and Natalie Mendez, aims to empower and unite the LatinX community here at the Science Academy. The club is open to all students and is an enriching opportunity to learn about multiple aspects of LatinX culture, which includes the cultures of Mexico, Latin America, South America and Spain, as well as the experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. One such meeting focused on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. An educational presentation about the holiday was presented to club members, detailing traditions like sugar skull painting and the cultural significance of celebrating the dead. Not only that, but the club also spreads awareness regarding issues the community itself faces in contemporary times. The club itself meets weekly and is sponsored by Ms. Huyler.
The Jewish and Israeli Club is another one of Science Academy’s cultural clubs, teaching the history of Israel and neighboring Arab countries. The club also explores Jewish culture, examining important religious works such as the Torah and the Christian New Testament. Club President Jaden Penhaskashi, an 11th grader and the current Science Academy Student Body President, leads the club in a multitude of different discussions alongside club vice president Gregory Kislik. Founded three years ago, the club was intended to educate the student body on the many similarities and differences between Judaism and various other cultures. Many members of the club aren’t Jewish themselves according to Jaden, as he explained:
“I love the fact that there are so many people in our club who do not identify as Jewish or Israeli, and are simply there to learn and understand another perspective!”
The most recent meeting featured a presentation on the Capitol riots and the role antisemitism played in them, as well as a lesson on the current parliamentary system in Israel. The club meets twice a month, with Ms. Herrera serving as club sponsor, and alternates meetings with the Christian Club.
The Christian Club is represented by Jacob Chow and Melissa Mouchamel. It, too, welcomes students of all faith backgrounds as a venue for sharing perspectives. It provides a safe place to learn about and discuss Christianity through life experiences and study of the Bible, as well as learn about the life and teachings of Jesus. As Jacob and Melissa stated:
“In Christian Club, we aim to be a place where people, both Christian and non-Christian, can learn about and discuss Christianity, Bible stories and lessons, as well as life in general. We work hard to stay open to different viewpoints and interact with our members. Being online has been a challenge, but we tried our best to involve everyone in our meetings and are looking forward to meeting in person next year. This year, we have talked about the stories, misconceptions, and values of Christianity. Having the opportunity to share the principles that are so important in our lives and learn about diverse opinions is the reason why we wanted to lead this club together.”
These cultural clubs are incredible opportunities for all members of the student body to learn about the various different cultures of those on campus. They serve to empower those of their respective culture, all the while providing a welcoming learning environment for others to educate themselves. The Jewish Club presents unique opportunities to learn about both Judaism as a religion and Israeli culture. The LatinX Student Union provides in-depth discussions regarding Latino culture and tradition, as well as insight into issues faced by the Latino and Latina population. The Christian Club provides a forum for exploring the many denominations of Christianity and its rich history. Joining these clubs allows students to learn more about the numerous cultures celebrated throughout the Science Academy student body. The Schoology group join codes can be found in the Club Resources folder in the Student Outreach group.