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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

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VSA plans new events for growing club

Photo provided by Rilina Tran
President of VSA and senior Sebastian Nguyen arrives three hours early to help volunteer and set up the event. After the photo backdrop was assembled, members took a photo that represented the different zodiac animal years.

The Vietnamese Student Association grew from just 40 members to about 81 members this year. Compared to last year, VSA has been more hands on with the Vietnamese community and has already hosted two events and has two more coming up.

President and senior Sebastian Nguyen’s goal is to gain more members and host more interactive events. Most recently on Sept. 30, VSA attended a Mid-Autumn Festival where club members got traditional lanterns, tried new dishes and watched performances to celebrate the full moon.

“I am grateful the club got to participate at two big Vietnamese community events that were fun, educational and impactful,” Sebastian Nguyen said. “I remember my first year joining [VSA] and it was very inactive. I am happy to see its growth and the impact we make on the community and students. I hope more students participate in our upcoming events.”

Senior Joe Beasley attended the Mid-Autumn Festival originally to hang out with his friends, but later joined after experiencing his first event with the club.

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Senior Joe Beasley attends a VSA event for the first time. Beasley said he enjoyed purchasing the cultural souvenirs and trying new dishes like quail the most. (Keith Luo)

“VSA is really cool because they host actual events and do stuff outside of the weekly lunch meetings,” Beasley said. “My favorite part about the event was buying the different cultural items like the hat and boba. [Joining VSA] is a good way to get out there, especially in Houston when there are so many cultures to experience.”

VSA offers opportunities for students to celebrate traditional events without the pressure of needing to understand the cultural background. Sophomore Morgan Nguyen, who participated in cultural events, said it was a “healing and fulfilling experience” because she didn’t get to attend these festivals as a child.

“What I truly enjoy while hanging out with VSA is how inclusive everyone was,” Morgan Nguyen said. “I was new to the club but was greeted with open arms which remedied the anxiety I had while joining and participating in new things. I would 100 percent join VSA for the acceptance and kindness within the community and I’m looking forward to more hangouts with members and learning more about my culture.”

VSA will volunteer on Oct. 28 at the Condit Boo Bash, a fall carnival at Condit Elementary, to help manage the activities. The Condit Elementary PTO reached out specifically to VSA to offer a way to make community connections.

“I was surprised to get an email asking us to help volunteer because I didn’t know that other schools knew about our club,” Sebastian Nguyen said. “We immediately accepted the invitation and got members to join because the sign up was open to the public. It was a perfect opportunity for one of our club service projects.”

On Oct. 26, VSA will host a luncheon for students to try different traditional dishes. Pre-sale tickets are $3 and $5 at the door and students can get a buffet-style experience in Room 2603. To prepare for this event, VSA members will each bring in a dish, create flyers and help sell tickets. Sophomore Dylan Tran plans to cook a dish with his friends in the club.

Sophomores Emma Tran and Morgan Nguyen buy a traditional straw-leaf hat (nón lá). There were about 20 booths with food vendors, traditional dresses (Áo dài) and toys. (Keith Luo)

“I like to attend club luncheons to try the different food,” Dylan Tran said. “It is cool that I get to be the one making the food this time and helping a club plan the luncheon. I want to make spring rolls and show people how to wrap them.”

With two events coming up, VSA hopes to get more students to participate and join the club to learn more about Vietnamese culture, gain volunteer opportunities and meet new people at different events.

“I really hope by the time I graduate and pass this club onto a different officer that we grow and establish a strong and well-known club,” Sebastian Nguyen said. “I have many plans for this club, but it can only be possible if more students participate and share the culture and community with others.

VSA meets Wednesdays during the first half of lunch in Room 2603. For more information, join VSA’s Remind @bhsvsa22 or follow their Instagram @bhs_vsa.

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