It’s afterschool at Grant Union High School and the crowd goes wild!
No it is not Grant’s Friday night football game and no the crowd is not at Grant’s football field either.
Just before the thanksgiving break Grant’s auditorium is packed with not just any students of Grant but the Hmong students of Grant and their family, friends and other Hmong within the community.
In celebrations to Hmong New Year, Grant’s Hmong Club hosted their 4th annual Hmong New Year event which was opened to the community at Grant’s soccer field and in the auditorium Nov. 17.
Grant Union High School is well-known for their football team, but what you may not realize is that Grant is a really diverse public school and one of its major diversities is Hmong students and Hmong club is based on anybody and everybody who wants to enjoy the culture, support the culture and take part in the culture. Although mainly Hmong students, everyone volunteered to help out and support the club and the culture.
Grant’s Hmong Club is a minority club that has been around for quite some time. There are about 40 members this year and five available officers: the president, the vice president, the secretary, the treasurer and the public relations. Every year the officers change. Hmong Club advisors help supervise and advise; this year the three advisors are English teachers Mr. Xavier Young and Ms. Julie Lee and Mr. Thai Yang who works in the special education department.
According to Yang, Hmong club can be a place for Hmong students to meet and greet either because they are new to the school, returning or just wanting to make more Hmong friends. It is also to familiarize themselves with their culture and to express themselves.
The first half of the event took place on Grant’s soccer field. The club invited two people in the community with their family or friends to be venders at the event. Rio Linda High School Hmong Club had a booth and Grant’s Student Council joined in as well. Members of Hmong Club provided tables for the venders and booths and helped set up.
School ended at 2:30p.m and the outside event was schedule to open at 2:45p.m. Other Grant students came by the soccer field to check out what’s going on. Some bought food and drinks and stayed to watch performances by Foothill High School’s dance team, Grant’s cheerleading squad, Grant’s Drum Line and the Aztec dancers. Even a few teachers stopped by.
“They kind of help bring in more attention to the event,” said Diane Lee, treasurer of Hmong Club, who was happy that a lot of other students that weren’t Hmong came.
A volleyball net was provided and set up in the middle of the soccer field. Couples and friends toss tennis balls back and forth, a traditional custom during Hmong New Years. Venders sold food and drinks such as eggrolls, papaya salad, and meat balls with sauce and orange chicken. There was even speakers and music provided by a volunteer.
The majority of Grant’s Hmong club and Hmong students all wore their best traditional Hmong clothes. Most of them even wore the outfits the whole day! Grant teachers and other students did not mind at all. In fact, they enjoyed it.
“We reached out into the community a little bit more,” said Panhoia Lee, vice president of Hmong Club, who thought that this year’s event was better than last year’s because more people attended.
The event inside the auditorium started around 5:30p.m. with introductions from the advisors, the officers and then given to the hosts. The first show was a fashion show, where members and students in their Hmong outfits walk down the aisles and up to the stage. The crowd cheered and clapped excitedly throughout the whole event.
There were a lot of volunteered performers. The performances included Hmong traditional dancers, Hmong singers and bands from all over Sacramento. Some Hmong students and Hmong Club members even participated in performing. Every performance received rounds of applauses until the very end.
This whole event was based on doing culture activities such as meeting and greeting new friends, old friends, the community, and being able to toss ball, eat and perform traditional dances, sing, and dress up in the most beautiful traditional outfits and showing it off by wearing it proudly.
“I feel that we did a wonderful job, everyone came out together and threw out there a wonderful event; we never thought how good it all worked out,” said Mr. Yang who is very proud of his Hmong Club students because the show was scheduled to end at the latest 10p.m. but because of the student’s good work, it all ended before 9p.m.
Nancy Lo, Hmong Club’s PR thought the event was a great idea and said, “The Hmong community isn’t really big and the event was to kind of let others know about our culture and that we exist here at Grant.”