The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

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Second Annual ACAA Culture Festival

The Reason Behind the Success
Club+Officers+pose+at+festival
Remi McKim
O’Connor’s Culture Connect officers with ACAA’s officer group

It was a warm Saturday afternoon when Mountain Ridge’s campus was bustling with activity. Guests were first welcomed by a booth, which handed out a ticket with areas to be stamped. At each booth, the student working it would stamp the ticket after a game was played or food distributed. There were ten spots for free activities or food items, and more than enough booths to have a full ticket.

The cultural and club booths were all ornately decorated with cultural items, such as flags and small statues. Each booth offered a new activity, showcasing a different aspect of the culture. The activities spanned from writing in Korean, matching flags to country names with Culture Club, karaoke, learning Armenian phrases, learning to salsa, getting henna on your hand, to trying a plethora of new foods. The foods were mouthwatering and plentiful—halo-halo, Korean candies, Armenian tarragon, Indian plantain chips, and a Punjabi milk-based dessert called rasmalai.

2023 senior Kimi Matibag, who formed ACAA when she was a junior at Ridge, spoke about the initial Culture Fest.

“I formed ACAA because I really wanted to create a safe space for the Asian Americans on campus. I formed it my junior year after the impact of Covid on the Asian community and also our school. Covid spiked Asian hate and it also strained sociability at Ridge so I wanted to give people a place to relate to one another and feel like they’re heard and important,” Matibag said. “I myself faced racism on campus my sophomore year which fueled me to create a community.”

And a community she has created. ACAA is one of the largest clubs at Ridge, only after being formed three years ago.

For the second Culture Fest, the officers expanded the event to partner with other schools. O’Connor High School had many booths at the event.

The O’Connor High School’s Culture Connect was the club that was contacted. Anthony Tsang, the club’s president, was able to talk about the event in more detail.

“We always wanted to do a culture festival, and last year we actually heard that Ridge had a culture festival. We wanted to collab with them, and this year they reached out to us,” he said, explaining how they got involved in ACAA’s Culture Fest.

“I think the event went great–all the dance groups did well, there’s a lot of people, the food was great. Everything was good,” Anthony said with a smile.

ACAA’s current president, Madi Hsu discussed the event and the planning aspect of it.

“I think the event went really well!” She said enthusiastically. “I was really excited that we were able to expand with other schools. Hopefully in the future, we can have even more expansion, but we were really happy with the way it’s been going.”

On the planning side, Madi explained, “It’s kinda been an all year thing that we have had to plan. We have planned it from the beginning of the year, but have only started working with the rest of our club in November. But, yes, definitely a lot of behind the scenes work that not a lot of people got to experience.”

First, members were divided into cultural groups to plan which aspects of their culture they wanted to offer—games, food, language. Afterward, similar groups were put together, food near food, and games with games. This was so the cultures would stay diverse and evenly spread throughout the campus, encouraging the people to explore.

The festival itself was huge, spanning from the entrance to the school to near the cafeteria. The club’s sponsor Dr. Chisholm truly took on a major role in preparing this huge event.

Dr. Chisholm explained that she has held large events before so she was more familiar with the workload and planning that goes into a big event like this. With this specific event, she knew members had an elaborate idea in mind that would take approval on multiple levels. Throughout the entire planning process, Dr. Chisholm said that she truly wanted to bring their idea to life.

The most rewarding part for ACAA’s current president was how much fun everyone had. Madi mentioned how quickly posts had sprung up on social media about the event, with pictures of everyone having an amazing time.

ACAA’s Culture Festival is an amazing event, from behind the scenes work to opening up the event to other schools, it showcases all of the talented, hard-working people at Mountain Ridge.

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About the Contributor
Remi McKim
Remi McKim, Journalist
Remi McKim is a junior and this is her third year writing for the newspaper. She is the Vice President of the Student Government along with officer positions in five other clubs. She spends the majority of her time reading books and watching shows and movies- and even more time dissecting them.

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    Adam KormanMar 8, 2024 at 11:30 AM

    Great job Remi 🙂

    Reply