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AHSneedle

The student news site of Atlantic High School

AHSneedle

The student news site of Atlantic High School

AHSneedle

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Welcome to the International Club!

Take a look inside the new club that aspires to celebrate culture.
Students+J.+Molina%2C+Brady+Wagner%2C+and+Molly+Harris+learn+to+dance+a+traditional+Japanese+festival+dance.
Students J. Molina, Brady Wagner, and Molly Harris learn to dance a traditional Japanese festival dance.

Atlantic High School is home to a wide cast of people from all different walks of life. As a community, it’s important to unite ourselves with our peers, but why not celebrate our differences at the same time? The new International Club hopes to achieve this by giving students a chance to share their cultures with others. 

For me, I felt that my multicultural experiences had no place to blend with my school life. I suspected that other students might’ve felt this way too, so when I first heard of the International Club, I was immediately intrigued. I thought it could be a welcoming place to learn about my school community in ways that I hadn’t before.

Meetings for the International Club are hosted every Monday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in room 214 by ELL teacher Aya Hamanaka. The initial idea for the club came to her during a summer meeting with Trevy Augustin of the Department of Health and Human Services. When discussing ways to support and advocate for the Micronesian students of the school, the vision of an international club was born. Hamanaka described the club as “a place to share and learn.” This grew into the concept of an hour-long meeting where presenters – students and teachers alike – share their cultural experiences in different aspects of life. “Celebrating diversity within the school environment helps develop positive self-concepts based on national origin, culture, race, etc. for students and staff with diverse heritages,” Hamanaka said. “In an inclusive school environment, everyone can be their authentic selves, and I hope Atlantic can be that place that welcomes and celebrates all individuals.”

In an inclusive school environment, everyone can be their authentic selves, and I hope Atlantic can be that place that welcomes and celebrates all individuals.

— Ms. Aya Hamanaka


Hamanaka herself presented for the first two meetings. The first meeting was held on the Sept. 18 and we learned more about Hamanaka’s family before we tried to fold origami (folded paper crafts). The second meeting focused on Bon Odori, a summer festival dance performed in Japan. I, alongside two other students, partook in hands-on activities to learn about the topics of the day. The vibe was exactly as I had hoped: everyone was super welcoming and excited to learn. Even if we made mistakes by folding the wrong side of our paper cranes, each person uplifted each other. 

I plan to take the stage with my own presentation for the next meeting on Oct. 2. I hope to talk about how family and food tie my cultures together, but I also have even more ideas that I can present in the future. Anyone interested in attending or presenting should attend a meeting and start planning with Hamanaka. Together, we can cultivate an environment that celebrates our diverse peers. I hope to see you there!

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About the Contributor
J. Molina, AHS Needle Editor
If you’re looking for a school staple, look for J. Molina’s bird. They draw the bird as a signature to show who they are in a creative way. Molina is an AHS Needle and Senior Magazine editor who is joining the broadcasting team this year. Molina is involved in many activities, such as marching band as a drum major, concert band as a bass clarinet, speech and debate, AHS theater, international club, QSA, and journalism. They use each activity as a “creative outlet,” and enjoy participating in each. They most enjoy speech and marching band. “I like swinging my arms like a fool,” Molina said. Story by Alix Nath

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