If you walk into any classroom at Peachtree Ridge High School, you’ll see people representing every nook and cranny of the world. With students of all different races, religions, backgrounds and passions, it’s undeniable that Peachtree Ridge’s diversity makes the school special. Students don’t learn from just textbooks and lectures at the Ridge – they develop valuable skills and experiences by being exposed to the thousands of peers who couldn’t be more different from them.
At Peachtree Ridge, cultural clubs play a large role in educating the community on different worldviews. Though they promote a certain geographic region, language or religion, they are open to all who are willing to learn about a culture different from theirs. Peachtree Ridge’s National Chinese Honor Society (NCHS), Pan-African Student Association (PASA), and Muslim Student Association (MSA) are just a few of the many cultural clubs at the Ridge making a sizable influence in the community.
Peachtree Ridge’s National Chinese Honor Society welcomes any lover of Chinese culture, but most members are either first-generation Chinese immigrants or the children of these immigrants. For these members, NCHS is an opportunity for them to share their history with their peers while reconnecting to their rich cultural roots. Members are involved in a variety of activities, from sharing traditional dumplings in celebration of Chinese New Year to encouraging civic engagement in the Asian American community.
“I love how close-knit our club’s community is, and when I see how much our club has grown since last year, I can’t help but feel proud of their efforts to spread awareness of our culture,” club president Chloe Lee says.
Like NCHS, the Pan-African Student Association welcomes students of all backgrounds with an interest in learning about a new culture. “Most members join PASA because they value Africa and want to connect with like-minded individuals. While most of our members are of African descent, we do have many who just love African culture and want to learn more about it,” vice president Ebun Ajayi explains. “Our meetings are always loud and fun because we all accept and love one another… At our meetings, I have learned new dances and tried food from different African cultures.”
PASA doesn’t just strive to bring cultural awareness to the Ridge, however. The club is also committed to motivating minority youth to strive for success. During Black History Month, PASA organizes All the Way Up, an event that brings in college students and working professionals to inspire current high school students. The club hopes to expand the event to provide mentoring for younger kids, community-wide informational sessions, and other opportunities to help the next generation achieve success.
Peachtree Ridge’s Muslim Student Association may be focused on a specific religion, but it is extremely diverse with members of all backgrounds and religions. Many members are even recent immigrants to the United States. What they all have in common is a desire to learn more about Islam, promote a good image of Islam, and help out the community.
“The club revolves around volunteering and helping the community around us!” president Henna Dossani explains. Members participate in several volunteer events at local elementary schools and nursing homes. They’re also active in programs like Feed the Hungry, Feed My Starving Children, and Adopt a Road.
“My favorite thing about the club is the family we have created,” Dossani says. “There are so many times where I take a second and absorb the fact that I have created so many friends that I can go to for anything and everything.”
Each of Peachtree Ridge’s cultural clubs have different events, goals and activities, but a common mission unites them all: to spread awareness and positivity throughout the community. By opening up a world of new cultures and experiences, these clubs are integral to creating the rich diversity at the Ridge.