Culture Clubs Take Action at Tallwood High School


The Tallwood Filipino Culture Club at the Oceanfront Illumination Parade.

Frances Summers, Features Editor

Throughout Tallwood’s Global Studies and World Languages Academy, there are many ways to become involved within the aspects of the academy besides the academics. There are travel programs offered that allow students to involve themselves in a different country’s culture by visiting and interacting with their own high school students. However, if there is a certain barrier that doesn’t allow a student to travel, they are still able to involve themselves within that culture by becoming a part of Tallwood’s culture clubs. These clubs offer opportunities to gain an insight of the language’s or country’s culture through group activities, language lessons, and more activity within the academy in general.

These clubs are a special part of Tallwood’s GSWLA identity. They advertise the action and involvement of the education of culture and diversity by students for students through the clubs. According to Ludan Ahmed, a senior and President of the Arabic Culture Club, “…culture clubs are especially important in the Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood because it spreads the idea of diversity among students.”

These various culture clubs such as the Tallwood Filipino Culture Club, the Israeli Culture Club, and the Korean Culture Club have meetings to educate others about that culture and offer opportunities to become involved with the culture. For instance, the Israeli Culture Club offers Hebrew lessons and has even helped those who traveled to Israel learn more about the Israeli culture in order to help them prepare for the culture shock of traveling.

Moreover, Tallwood’s culture clubs have offered students opportunities to become more involved in the academy through a variation of activities from general meetings to school performances. The Tallwood Filipino Culture Club performs at almost every school function such as the latest Academy Night.

This club also reaches out to the community and performs at cultural festivals within the community. Jastine Dizon stated that “Fil-Fest was basically for people (young Filipino Americans mostly) to explore more of their Filipino culture and see the changes throughout. For example, we’d dance traditional with some Hispanic influence and others can see how the culture changed from then and now.”

Tallwood travel experiences are definitely a unique part of their curriculum, but some students don’t involve themselves in school travel and instead take part in the club’s culture here at school. “It’s actually so cool to see how Filipinos and Americans are alike and different… And you can see more into their culture without having to travel 3,000 miles to experience it there,” said Alyssa Bohnstengel, a GSWLA junior a part of Tallwood’s Filipino Culture Club.

As students of the academy become more educated of the importance of diversity and culture in their classes, they can showcase this importance through their involvement in culture clubs. “We should have culture clubs at school so that the students can learn more about their own culture or another culture they are interested in. This cultural awareness allows us to be more functional and understanding as a society,” said Rachel McGraw, President of the Israeli Culture Club.

This cultural awareness is represented through the clubs’ actions and goals. Some clubs, like the Tallwood Filipino Culture Club, want to educate Tallwood more about the Filipino culture that is present at the school. It also offers an opportunity for those of that ethnicity and culture to learn more about themselves. Additionally, the Israeli Culture Club has become very involved with the Israeli travel program that is offered at Tallwood. When the Israelis visited Virginia Beach and Tallwood, the club made sure that the Israeli Cafe was a keen opportunity to bring Tallwood students and native Israelis together to educate the Tallwood students of the Israeli culture and language.

Although these clubs allow for the students of the GSWLA to become more involved in the academy, it is interpreted by academy students that these clubs don’t reach the rest of Tallwood’s students because of lack of advertisement or interest.

Ahmed said, “I think culture clubs could get more recognition through their students spreading it on social media and more students joining them. That being said they could be more informed on whatever culture club they’re a part of.”

These clubs’ goals are to reach all of Tallwood and not just the academy. Bohnstengel stated that these clubs should be inclusive to all students, “…most people especially non academy students think that they have to be that ethnicity or have to be in the academy to join it, which isn’t true. I’m not at all Filipino or Asian in that matter but I am still a member of TFCC.”

The Roaring Gazette questioned academy students how the school can become more involved in culture clubs. These clubs were created to reach out to the student body’s interest of becoming more knowledgeable about other cultures. “Students can be involved in a culture club by simply going to a meeting. Most if not all clubs are free and open to everyone. Bring a friend if it makes you feel better. No one will be mad at you because you came to your first meeting in January,” said Bohnstengel.

Most clubs meet during Lion Lunch or after school. Those who a part of these clubs encourage all students to join!