Academy Chronicle

Heritage Night!

Photo+Credit%3A+Grace+Tan
Photo Credit: Grace Tan

Photo Credit: Grace Tan

Photo Credit: Grace Tan

Hannah Noh, School News Editor

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The warm stage lights dim as the seated audience ― filled with familiar smiling faces of parents, relatives, and friends ― clap and cheer for the first act of the night to commence.

This year on June 8, BCA’s first ever Heritage Night will take place in the THARTS facility, where students will be performing poetry, songs, and performances that celebrate their diverse heritages.

For years, Mr. Hathaway has been assigning his sophomore literature students a creative journal entry to write about their heritages, after collectively reading the book My Ántonia. “Stories have always moved me, and some have even brought me to tears,” said Mr. Hathaway. “And sometimes, they can really make me laugh out loud.”

Mr. Hathaway’s students have also discovered the power and influence of these stories. “We had people share things like their father’s first time trying a milkshake in America to their grandmother surviving a war,” said AAST junior Grace Tan. “The stories actually brought everyone in the class closer together. We were all finding out something new about our classmates and where their families came from. And for many of us, there was a realization of, ‘My parents went through that too,’ or ‘My family came from someplace like that, too.’”

After listening to his students share their inspiring journal entries, Mr. Hathaway said that it struck him: these are stories that should be shared. He then reached out to some of his students to put together performances, either reciting their stories or creating new poems, songs, or dances that express their heritages in another way.

Christine Choi, an ACAHA junior, was one of the many students who created an alternate version of her story: an original song with piano and violin instrumentals. “This is my first time singing in front of a crowd, and it’s a bit nerve-wracking,” said Christine. “But, having my fellow classmates support me through our Heritage Night is very motivational.”

Other students have likewise prepared creative forms of art that celebrate their families and backgrounds. “My piece recognizes that heritage and family go beyond biology. It is in my queerness that I’ve found my family, and in the love that we hold and in the bravery that we walk with,” said Samuel Nardone, an AVPA-T senior.

Another example is of AVPA-T sophomore Reanna Valencia, who will be performing a song about food and its importance in honoring where she came from.

“[One of my classmates] Kyle Han and I created a piece that combines our stories, and one thing that I found so interesting and endearing is that both of our stories about our grandmothers are so incredibly similar, yet we had barely talked before working on this project with Mr. Hathaway,” said Joyce Zheng, an AVPA-T junior.

This is the beauty of our upcoming Heritage Night: bringing together and connecting BCA students who come from the same ― and from completely different backgrounds. Mr. Hathaway also values the interdisciplinary nature of this event, which combines writing with visual art, songs, and musical performances.

In fact, Mr. Hathaway is attending a conference in November that features STEM schools. He will be travelling to Houston, Texas with a videotape of our Heritage Night in one hand, and a few copies of our poems in another, to inspire other schools to pursue similar projects. “[STEM students] are made up of more than just ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.’ What I don’t want to see lost is the idea of liberal arts education, which I think rounds out [STEM students], so to speak,” said Mr. Hathaway.

This integration of the arts into STEM schools like BCA is one of the various goals of Heritage Night, along with the hope to successfully spend an exciting evening with diverse peers, teachers, friends, and family. “I think Heritage Night will be such a nice and wholesome opportunity to share my family’s story. As BCA students, we’re so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we often forget to step back and remember our roots,” said Angela Lee, an ABF junior.

‘Home’ means something different to everybody. Each of us has our own story and our own means of telling it. As ATCS junior Cassandra Moe said, “The meaning behind this event is to reflect and share. In a time when everything is always about the latest updates, we need a space to step back and remember.”

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Heritage Night!