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Cross-Divisional Project Nets Beautiful Results

The Upper School Asian American Student Association (AASA) ran an event for the Lower School Asian American Student Affinity Group that saw a lot of fun and creativity with the end result a beautiful aquarium of unique marine animals. Read below a Q&A from two of the Upper School student leaders, Stella Lee ’23 and Aayush Kevadia ’23, about their group’s work.

What was the purpose of the exercise?

Aayush – “As AASA leaders, it's our responsibility to spread awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The purpose of this exercise was to encourage these students to craft their own marine animal and decorate it using markers, colored pencils, cotton balls, feathers, and other arts and crafts materials. By encouraging these students to open up creatively, hopefully they were able to see the value in each and every fish. Each fish holds value, because they’re all unique in their own way; they’re characterized by different colors or materials, and that's exactly why they have power. Ultimately, this activity was an opportunity for these students to connect with one another and have fun.”

Did you enjoy your interaction with the Lower School kids? What do you think they took away from it?

Stella – “I loved spending time with the Lower Schoolers! One of the advantages of GA being a PreK-12 school is that we can host cross-divisional events like this one. The students were so imaginative and curious—being around them really made my day! For me, the importance of an affinity group like AASA is the ability to have a space where people can openly embrace their identity, and also feel comfortable having conversations about race and identity. Although fish may seem much more trivial, I hope that they found the opportunity to work with Asian Upper Schoolers as a beginning to thinking about their own identity.”

Would it have been helpful to you to have this group when you were in Lower School?

Aayush – “Our hope for these kids is to help foster a sense of belonging and cultural awareness from early on, so they can carry these lessons with them when they enter the Upper School. By encouraging camaraderie and collaboration from early on, we hope this group will establish long lasting friendships that will lead into a fruitful experience in the Middle and Upper School as Asian American students.”

What's your hope for this group in the future?

Stella – “AASA is split up into two different sectors: outreach and affinity. The intent behind this division is to not only foster a safe space for our Asian American community but also to help make the greater community more inclusive. In the future, I hope this group can have more time to simply discuss shared experiences and to reflect.”

What other activities do you hope to run in the future?

Aayush – “We hope to continue leading Lower and Middle School cross-divisional events to foster friendship and mentorship between students. Our main responsibility as AASA leaders is to ensure the Asian American student body feels valued and affirmed in their sense of identity. It’s also our responsibility to promote cultural awareness, so we are looking forward to AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Month in May for that opportunity.”

CLICK HERE for the Smugmug gallery.