Diversifying clubs at LZHS

New South Asian Student Association Club at LZHS


Photo by Mckenzee Johnson

Shloka Rao and Priya Ravella advertise the South Asian Student Association at the Freshman activity night on February 2. Rao and Ravella are the presidents of the new South Asian Student Association at LZHS.

According to the 2022 Illinois Report Card, 9.4% of LZHS students are Asian. In an effort to increase representation and community for minority students at the school, Shloka Rao, sophomore, and Priya Ravella, sophomore, started one of the newest clubs at LZHS, the South Asian Student Association (SASA).

“Our main focus is to bring Asians and non-Asians together in a little forum to really highlight and appreciate South Asian diversity,” Rao said.

Although the club has only just begun, holding its first meeting just a few weeks ago, it is looking to plan events that celebrate South Asian culture.

“We’re planning a Holi event for and then we’ll have a Diwali [event]. Holi is the Festival of Colors and Diwali is the Festival of Lights,” Rao said. “We [also] might have a bake sale, featuring certain Indian sweets.”

Other members of the SASA hope to see the club put on these events as well, to bring South Asian culture to the attention of LZ students.

“So one notable one that we discussed was about a Holi celebration. So Holi is like a festival of color. So it’s primarily a North Indian holiday. So it’s just to celebrate and kind of meet everyone and then we throw colors to have fun.” Anushree Sudhakar, junior, said.

At their first meeting, other than future events, Sudhakar said  the group discussed “our own cultures and, as a fun question, we [talked about our] favorite South Asian food to get to know each other more.”

Despite the fact that the club is based around fun activities, Rao says that it is valuable to have at LZHS to continue to emphasize diversity and bring awareness to the diverse and rich South Asian culture.

“[We want to] showcase our culture a little bit more for everyone to know a little bit more about South Asian culture and [that] it doesn’t only have to be about [one thing],” Sudhakar said. “One aspect of it could be food, could be celebrations, religion, anything, and also for South Asians in our school to have a little bit more leadership in their community.”

Rao says that the club is open to anyone with “an open mind”, and that it is not just for South Asian students.

“It’s really fun, and it’s very informal. And, you know, you don’t have to be South Asian to join,” Rao said. “It’s open to anyone who wants to learn more about South Asian culture.”