Stanley Luu, Joseph To, Dan Ha, Thuy-Tien Nguyen Seniors at McKay High School
Project Goal: We plan to organize a Lunar New Year show for a school assembly to celebrate Asian culture. It will include lion dancing, drumming, and runners passing red envelopes containing candy and positive messages out to the audience. With this performance, we hope to get the McKay community more interested in (or at least more aware of) Asian culture and to draw more members to our budding Asian Student Union.
Project Description: The four of us founded the Asian Student Union (ASU) at McKay High School just last month. Many of its current members (including us) joined because we felt out of touch with our cultural roots, and we also felt that the Asian students in our community lacked an outlet to speak up about Asian or Asian-American issues (unlike various other ethnic minority groups at McKay). Many of us hope to learn more or share information about our cultures in the club. ASU is intended to be a place where members can connect with others over a shared background and similar struggles and serve as a platform to help break the stereotypes associated with Asian and Asian-American people. As a club, we want to use the grant to help put together a Lunar New Year show. The performance will be on February 14th, 2020 in McKay’s main gym, and we may perform it again at McKay’s Multicultural Night on March 11th, 2020 as well. We will need to practice the lion dance and drumming routines and plan where people will run to throw out red envelopes to the crowd. Rehearsals will be scheduled over winter break and on weekends leading up to each event. We have access to a lion head and a drum that we are allowed to borrow, but we are working to raise money to buy our own as both items are quite expensive. This project will help spread awareness of Asian culture in a school where it is not very prominent; it is hardly mentioned (let alone celebrated) at all. ASU members can also feel more connected with their cultural identities by participating in a dance that is very central to backgrounds that most of us share. Besides helping participants feel more connected with and take more pride in their heritage, the dance practices will also help build and strengthen community within the club. As many sports teams and musical groups can attest, rehearsals and working together toward a common goal is a great way to build bonds. With those stronger bonds, members will be more comfortable with sharing ideas with each other and working more closely together toward other club goals. Ideally, this will carry on in future years, and projects like these can continue to motivate the club members while drawing in new ones as well.
Note: OATAG has edited the following report for student privacy reasons.
2020-2021 Student Grant Recipients
Stacy Martinez Arroyo McKay High School, Salem, OR
Project Goal: With this opportunity I would take the chance to develop my ASL skills. Currently, I’m no fluent ASL signer, but I do know how to sign very few words. I could have the opportunity to expand my vocabulary in order to have more in-depth conversations with deaf people that come across in my life. What I hope for is to improve my current skills, but also raise awareness on ASL in our community. My wish to help others with their journey with ASL, as others did for me.
Project Description: I would take this opportunity to learn from a TikTok creator I have come across, Dr. Luanne Sailors. Dr. Luanne is the founder and instructor of Sign Tribe Academy ( https://sign-tribe.com/). I would participate in her courses for 1 year. Meanwhile, I would start an online club to raise awareness on ASL and deaf culture. The club would serve as a place to learn from each other, which includes deaf individuals and also those who would like to inform themselves on deaf culture, the deaf community, and ASL.
Personal Statement: This is an important opportunity for me since I lack skills for a language that I am passionate about. I know very few words in ASL, but when I get the opportunity to communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing I feel joy when Ican communicate a simple “how are you?”. As a preschooler, I learned how to sign very few words. This was due to one of our classmates having a deaf mom, so we learned to help communicate and make her feel included. In the second grade, my classmates and I learned how to sign “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. We performed this in front of our school at an assembly. In my freshman year I decided to learn through YouTube videos some basic words in ASL. My most recent experience learning sign language was just this summer. I took a short ASL course through Upward Bound. Throughout the years I have taken on learning more and more about the deaf community and ASL, and today with my basic knowledge of ASL I can communicate with customers at work and help them feel included. I truly believe that short interactions like these make an impact, I can totally admit to it brightening up my day. This is why ASL is important to me.
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