TROY — Inspired to celebrate her student body’s diversity, Troy High School senior Alayna Jones started the school’s Culture Club as a way for students to share the unique customs and traditions with one another.
Jones shared how she attended a leadership camp at The Ohio State University last summer. She said students from around the state shared their school’s unique clubs and organizations, including culture clubs, which Jones thought would be a great fit to bring back to Troy.
“We have a lot of students from all over — Jamaica, Ecuador, India and all over the world here at my school,” Jones said.
The Culture Club kicked off last October and more than 90 students signed up. Students stay after school once a month to learn more about the country of origin from students and their families. Students share their country’s dress, food, games and other unique customs of their country and then the club members usually have an extensive question and answer session following presentations.
The Culture Club has had students from India, Mali and Jamaica share music, games and food so far this year. The club will feature Japan this month and plan on ending the club’s first year with a picnic at the park.
“One of our student’s mom talked about living in India and her experiences there … and they made us food and watched them dance and we did henna at the end,” Jones said.
Students also played a traditional African game called Mancula during the Mali session.
Latin and foreign language teacher Jennifer Limke serves as the club’s adviser and said she wished the club had been started sooner and enjoys seeing the students share and learn together.
“I like to see the students owning their own culture — culture is so fun,” Limke said. “It’s something fun to do after school and that to me is how you learn the best is when you have fun.”
Last month, Johnae Malcolm and her cousins Nailah and Saidah Dbamba, all freshmen, brought food, music, clothing and other pieces like traditional Jamaican dolls to share their Jamaican culture.
“Jamaica is a small place, but it’s a very unique country,” Malcolm said.
She noted famous Jamaicans like Usain Bolt, the Olympic runner and famous musician the late Bob Marley as just a few notable people from the country.
Malcolm’s mother Nickita said the girls were excited to share their culture with the club.
“It’s all they talked about for a week,” she said.
The girls shared Jamaican food such as jerk chicken, coconut drop cookies, water crackers and Jamaican “bandana dresses.”
Senior Jack White said he signed up for the Culture Club because he’s interested in world travel and the unique differences in culture from each country.
“I wanted to learn more about others culture and experience it for myself — it’s been really fun,” he said.
Jones said a member of the school’s student advisory will take over the club after she graduates in May. Jones plans on attending The Ohio State University and majoring in health and rehabilitation or pre-med.