Students share their heritage through ISA club


Courtesy of ISA Facebook

Queen Balina tells her story by posting this photo on the ISA Facebook page. She wants others to know how she feels about her culture, as shown by the book, and encourages others to share as well.

By Austin Vinner, Photo Manager

When you are walking through the gym on club day, it can be hard to get a feel for every last club at WCHS. With so many people and all the different clubs trying to get your attention, it’s natural to overlook some of them in the frenzy.

There are many important clubs and extracurriculars at WCHS, and the ISA is one of them. “The International Student Alliance is a club dedicated to educating the Churchill community about the various backgrounds and cultures that our students come from,” sophomore and ISA officer Queen Balina said. “It’s an extremely important part of our school because it fosters understanding among people. By learning about a person’s history, you can gain a better understanding of who they are.”

Clubs are one of the most common ways to show universities that you have many interests and how you pursue them. Clubs also emphasize social relationships and allow for leadership positions.

“Later this year, the ISA will be bringing International Night back to WCHS. This event will have food, performances and posters relating to the various backgrounds of families in our school cluster. Our club is currently in the midst of the planning process,” Balina said. “Additionally, over the summer we will sponsor a volunteer trip to Liberia and Uganda to teach young students at specific schools. This is our first year going to Uganda as a club.”

The ISA is present in hundreds of high schools across the country, and now that it has finally come to WCHS, students are beginning to get opportunities for immersive experiences.These activities continue over the summer, and they offer experiences to live with other cultures in numerous countries.

“I feel like joining [the ISA] would be a good opportunity to experience a foreign country and might also help me with college admissions” sophomore Melissa Goldstein said.

Having a diverse club such as the ISA benefits every student in the club, even if they don’t have an active leadership role. Along with the collegiate benefit of the ISA, there are many opportunities for members to share their culture and heritage which is an activity they like to call called Sharitage.

“Most of the students I know are uncomfortable with sharing a lot about their culture, especially since it feels more ‘right’ to adapt to the school’s dynamic and culture, rather than stick out,” ISA club president Kristen Zhu said. “ISA is the place for you to stick out, in your own way. At our meetings, you’ll get to talk about why your experience at WCHS is unique to you, and how your culture has shaped your views and experiences.”

ISA is unique since it gives students this platform to express their cultural identity. Getting involved will not only benefit students in the form of self-expression but also in educating others through sharing about your culture and unique background. 

“Students should join the ISA to become more connected to the diverse WCHS community. We have members from many different cultures,” Balina said. “If [someone] is interested in joining to educate people about their culture while learning about others they can email [email protected] to get in touch with us.”