How did BCA Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month?


Cadee Lee, Assistant Managing Editor

With the various cultures and backgrounds at Bergen County Academies, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month was widely recognized and celebrated by many students this past May. Student groups, including the Student Council and Diversity Alliance all expressed support for AAPI Heritage Month at the Academies. 

On May 4, the Student Council sent out a list of resources related to AAPI Heritage Month to the entire student body. The spreadsheet of resources included books from various genres, movies, TV shows, documentaries, and articles as well as short summaries describing each item. 

Sam Modlinger, the president of the Student Council, explained that he hopes to encourage other students to continue raising awareness and learning about other cultures. “We want to give students the opportunity to educate themselves. We try to provide a wide range of resources that we hope students feel comfortable using.”

Especially with the recent rise in AAPI hate crimes, Sam hopes to send the message to the student body that they are fully supported by the Student Council. “Overall, we want to send a message to the student body that we care. Just because a holiday or commemoration is not on Schoology, does not mean that it is unimportant.”

The Diversity Alliance is a club consisting of around 30 BCA students, aiming to create a more inclusive and accepting environment. They meet every Tuesday with Ms. Berwick and Mrs. Blake, who are both faculty advisors for the club. The club meeting agendas change according to current events in the world as well as any upcoming plans for the club. They have organized multiple events open to BCA students throughout the school year, including IDA Workshops and discussion forums.

On March 24, the Diversity Alliance also sent out a statement regarding the recent rise in AAPI hate crimes to the student body. They provided a list of resources, including petitions, documentaries, novels, and other articles. Previously, they have also organized a discussion forum on Asian American violence. “We had a great turnout and were extremely encouraged by the amount of engagement occurring with such a pertinent issue,” said Grace Chu, a junior who is a member of the Diversity Alliance. 

AAPI Heritage Month originated from the week of May 4, 1979, which was named “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week,” by Congress in Public Law 95-419. Later on March 28, 1979, President Jimmy Carter issued the first proclamation for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week, when he spoke about the contributions of Asian and Pacific Americans to the arts, sciences, industry, government, and commerce. 

On May 7, 1990, President George W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130, naming May of 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” Later on May 14 1991, Congress unanimously passed Public Law 102-42, requesting the president to proclaim May of 1991 and 1992 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months.” Finally on October 23, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450, which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” 

Students at BCA also recognize the importance of continuing to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in 2021. Sam said, “I think it is so important for us to acknowledge the different cultures that exist here at BCA,” said Sam. “One of the best parts of our school is its diversity so I think it’s crucial for us to celebrate it. It isn’t enough to have IDA once a year.” 

Grace also expressed similar ideas about the importance of celebrating diversity at BCA. “As a school where Asians make up such a significant part of the student body, it is important that we support our Asian community in times of strife, but also to celebrate them and their heritage. AAPI Heritage Month gives us a chance to do so.” 

With the wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds at BCA, AAPI Heritage Month gives students the chance to appreciate, learn about, and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Asian American community. 



“AAPI Resource Center.” FAPAC, 2021,