Students share East Asian culture

Talk it out-- Junior Caterina Wang speaks to students about traditional Chinese dance before demonstrating it. This presentation took place during the East Asia Day at Irving A. Robbins Middle School (IAR) to guide seventh graders with their research on East Asia.

Eric Wang

Talk it out-- Junior Caterina Wang speaks to students about traditional Chinese dance before demonstrating it. This presentation took place during the East Asia Day at Irving A. Robbins Middle School (IAR) to guide seventh graders with their research on East Asia.

Bella Podgorski, Managing Editor

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On March 23, students of East Asian descent (Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and Vietnamese) presented to the seventh grade students at Irving A. Robbins Middle School (IAR) to share their cultural experiences and knowledge guiding them in their related research.

Students who are currently part of the Chinese Cultural club, such as junior Caterina Wang, served as a primary resource to answer any student questions. Wang managed the presentation the day of the event as well as connected students from the Chinese Cultural club to those at IAR.

“This event was an opportunity for students, both IAR and FHS, to interact and learn from one another in regard to respect for and appreciation of other cultures and perspectives. It is a platform to deepen understanding, explore questions, and break down barriers of misunderstanding, judgment, stereotype and bias,” social studies teacher Sophie Nuccio said.

Nuccio currently is one of the teachers leading the seventh graders in learning about aspects of East Asia and according to Wang, was welcoming and open to this new program integrating culture.

“I think I was most excited for the opportunity we had been given to teach other students our personal experiences in these countries. I feel that getting information from someone who has seen it firsthand is a lot more effective that learning it from a book or even the internet,” sophomore Haoyi Wang said.

Students presented on customs such as food, language, holidays, festivals and education. Shortly after as a more interactive part of this event, Wang showed the students how to use two different types of fans during traditional dance, as well as how to use ribbons. Her brother, senior Eric Wang, elaborated on his experience as a drummer and lion dancer and showed students how to beat traditional drums and use other traditional percussion instruments.

“As a social studies teacher who embraces culture and learning about it, I am so happy to welcome high school students who are willing to share and teach younger students about their unique cultures. e highlight of day was seeing the FHS students interact with the IAR students,” Nuccio said.

Nuccio added how the upperclassmen had to answer a variety of questions and answer in ways that could have been challenging. Questions arose surrounding food, music, holidays, politics and historical events. Students were encouraged to use this visit from high schoolers as an opportunity to expand upon their knowledge within their East Asia unit in Social Studies.

“ e point of our club is to teach others about Asian culture so that means anyone can join our club. It doesn’t matter whether or not you can speak Chinese or your family comes from Asia; we just want others to have fun and learn,” junior Justin Luong said.

Students responded positively to the presenters, some even approaching Nuccio asking if the upperclassmen who are part of the Chinese Culture club could come back and continue sharing.

“It is a wonderful collaboration of minds to witness the FHS and IAR students interacting in such a way. e students of IAR truly bene t from visiting with their older counterparts,” Nuccio said.