By Emme Lee
My name is Emme Lee and I am the newly elected Co-Captain External of the REACH Dragon Boat Team.
On Saturday June 15th, REACH participated in the CAACF Duan Wu Festival at Lake Fairview Park.
The Duan Wu Festival, also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, is a Chinese traditional holiday held every year on May 5th. According to legend, the festival started when a beloved poet named Qu Yuan drowned himself in a river. The locals, who admired him very much, rushed out in boats to find his body. Unfortunately, he was never found. In despair, his admirers threw rice balls into the river, in hopes the fish would eat them instead of Qu Yuan’s body. Eating rice balls, also known as zong zi, is now a tradition enjoyed by many at the Duan Wu Festival.
At the festival, REACH members learned the basics of dragon boat paddling and had the wonderful chance to row in a race. I know I speak for all of the paddlers when I say we had an exciting time. I genuinely hope all REACH members can experience how invigorating a dragon boat race can be, especially with a team as amazing as REACH.
For this year’s Dragon Boat season, my aim is to introduce new REACH members to the sport and get them excited about it. I believe that the Dragon Boat Team is a crucial part of REACH because of the time we spend practicing and bonding with each other.
By Chloe Sakr
The Asian Cultural Festival was electric, exciting, and insanely fun. Being apart of REACH and volunteering at events like this is always an opportunity I am eager to take part because it allows me to not only meet students from other high schools and counties, but also be apart of the Asian American community of Central Florida. Being able to do a double shift was a great way to see the whole festival come together, flourish, and then come to a close at the end of the day. I love participating in volunteer groups because it’s fun to see how all of our work behind the scenes helps it come together and orchestrate while we ourselves, are making new friends and bonding with each other. Entertained with live music and dancing, we were able to make sure everything ran smoothly while being able to enjoy the food and performances. As a new member and officer of REACH, I am slowly becoming more assimilated into the Asian American community to expand my involvement and learn about other Asian cultures and other Asian countries.
By Jiselle Lee
On Saturday June 1st, the Asian American Heritage Council (AAHC) held the Asian Cultural Festival at Enchanted Nights Banquet Hall.
Each May, AAHC holds this event to celebrate Asian Pacific American Cultural Heritage Month, a time where Asian Americans can come together to celebrate their cultures.
The venue is filled with booths to showcase business vendors, ethnic cuisines and merchandise that are representative of Asia. A cultural show is presented by the various Asian countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and more.
In addition, sponsorship of the festival benefits the AAHC Asian Student Achievers’ Scholastic Awards. Held in November, the scholarships awarded at the event will honor and recognize deserving Asian American students for their academic excellence and outstanding community service. REACH members are encouraged to apply for these scholarships, as they are extremely beneficial to high school students planning for college.
For REACH, the Asian Cultural Festival always marks the beginning of the new term for our Executive Board. During the preparation process, we undergo a transition of power from senior officers to new officers. This event is the perfect opportunity for the officers to learn the ropes of volunteering with REACH. Through job shadowing, the high school coordinators can pick up on the tips and tricks that in-charges have acquired from their years of volunteer experiences with REACH.
In conclusion, the Asian Cultural Festival is always a fun event to take part in. Over the next few events, the new officers will be able to teach incoming members everything that they have learned from volunteering with REACH by the time the Asian Cultural Festival comes around next year.
By Praveen Sundar
For the 2019-2020 term of REACH, Jiselle Lee and I have been elected as Co-Presidents. We are very excited to work with each other, as well as with the officers of REACH in order to expand our community outREACH. Together Jiselle and I will be overseeing specific high school coordinators as well as certain Vice Presidents. This is so we can each spend more time and be more attentive towards certain areas. By paying more attention, we can improve the work that all of the officers as a whole do.
We have many plans for the new term, all of them will be in order to have enlarge our presence within the community and be able to further help the community. One of my biggest goals for this new term is to increase our social media presence, mainly on Instagram. Social media plays a large role in society today, yet REACH has not been utilizing our social media to its full capabilities. My plan is to have the officers handle the REACH Instagram and post/discuss about their daily lives, demonstrating the wide varieties of the Asian American high-schooler life. This will allow us to show how our culture impacts us everyday as well as increase our social media presence.
Together Jiselle and I have also planned to be more outgoing within the community itself. We hope to accomplish this by having more REACH socials and by volunteering for smaller events. Both Jiselle and I are super excited for this term to kick into gear, we know that with this awesome officer board we’ll be able to make this an awesome term.
By Anthony Chung
So my watch has ended. (Like that Game of Thrones reference huh?)
My name is Anthony Chung and I am the, now, Past President of REACH of Central Florida from the 2018-2019 term. The experience as a whole has provided an enrichment of my own abilities as a leader and characteristics that will propel me through life. It has developed my character, put me through many many strenuous nights, and all in all, has been worth absolutely every second of the hard work I had put in. Being REACH President has given me friends for life and an experience I will never forget.
As is tradition, our final meeting was the send-off for our Senior board members, the announcement of the new President(s) as well as the introduction of many new officers ready to make a change in the world as we had done just the same. We began with giving Awards for each of the past Board members, to recognize them all for their own hard work along with a small gift as presented by our Sponsor, Mrs. Pauline Ho. We also introduced a new award this year, as we gave an opportunity to have each of our Board Members vote on somebody who they believe was a large part of the heart and soul of REACH of Central Florida. Megan Trinh won this award, and very well deserved as well.
After the presentation of the awards, I officially stepped down from my role and allowed the next term’s Co-Presidents to take over and run the rest of the meeting. Jiselle Lee and Praveen Sundar did a stellar job in continuing the excellence REACH has always provided. After the new officers were introduced and announced, along with the rest of the board, we celebrated a great year with food provided by Viet-Nomz!
I can say with confidence that the future of REACH is bright, and I am exceedingly excited to see what is to come.
By Khaled Itani
As college decision time nears, some of you might find yourselves lost, overwhelmed and/or confused regarding where you want to go for college. While it is normal to feel stressed, you can’t let these negative emotions get the best of you, and you will come to find that when you can think calmly and clearly that a lot of things tend to work themselves out for the better in the end. With that being said, you will likely be doing a lot of reading and asking around for advice and perspective on where to go for university, in this blog post I intend to give you some insights on staying in your hometown for undergrad which may help you in your decision making.
Even if you are anticipating scholarship money or grants going into university, you still need to consider the costs of textbooks, access codes and if you are leaving home then rent and perhaps even gas money (all these don’t even account for tuition and fees!). You should consider these factors, evaluate the costs per year and make an informed decision from there. It may be exciting to experience a new life elsewhere, but if you are given the chance to graduate with a bachelor’s degree with close to no debt as well as not having rent to pay, it puts you in good footing in the future especially considering the student loan crisis in the U.S currently. Discussing cost can be a sensitive topic, as different people receive different types of financial aid/scholarships or none at all, and some scholarships are only usable at Florida institutions (e.g Bright Futures), so while this topic can be stressful, you shouldn’t avoid it and you need to be realistic.
For a lot of us, graduate programs are probably somewhere on our timelines. It is important to consider that being an undergraduate is typically only a 4-year journey, in the big picture of things, 4 years really isn’t that long. A lot of you are finishing high school now, so I’m sure you know the bittersweet feeling of 4 years going by fast. If you are thinking that you will be bummed and upset about being at home for undergrad while your friends are out experiencing a new scene, you need to remember that for graduate school it is VERY likely you will be studying in another city, state or in some cases maybe even a different country.Additionally, the fear of missing out on travel during your academics is only as real as you make it, regardless of which university you go to, you will most likely be able to find internships, study-abroad programs, shadowing-abroad opportunities, etc. which can help push you towards your goals while still experiencing a change of scene. From my personal experience however, as a Pre-Med student it is more difficult to try to do study abroad from my experience, especially because you have a lot of prerequisite classes and science classes you need to get out of the way, additionally other commitments like research, clubs, plain-out wanting to just be able to rest, etc. can tire you out and you may find out that maybe study-abroad isn’t for you, but everyone is different, this is just my own opinion.
3. Dismissing the fear of “not being able to grow”:
Some people fear that staying at home might prevent them of becoming their own person. Most people graduate undergrad at around 22, you have plenty of time left on your life to grow as a person, but additionally it is worth mentioning that you will likely end up getting pretty busy in your own academic life and involvements that you will start to grow without you even knowing. Transitions are often filled with struggle, and from struggle comes growth, when I look back at my growth regarding academic capability, I definitely feel like I experienced huge growth in relatively shorter periods of time during my undergrad semesters. In my case, I took College Physics I and II as a freshman, while typically these classes are taken by Juniors and Seniors, while taking these classes it was a struggle no doubt but after coming out of it all, I can look back and definitely say I experienced growth in my study habits, time management as well as my general outlook on difficult classes and even my work ethic to an extent. That being said, all this growth occurred without even factoring in a stayed home for undergrad, which now in hindsight I do find it weird that at one point I thought I wouldn’t be able to grow as a person staying in Orlando… that being said though, other types of growth can occur if you leave home for college, but it is incorrect to think that you can’t branch out, learn new things and develop yourself while studying in your hometown (and if you’re from Orlando… Orlando is huge, there is no shortage of ways to involve yourself to gain experience outside of your classes).
4. Programs of study (Note: this section is mainly for those who intend to go Pre-Health):
If you intend to go into Pre-Med or a Pre-Health field, it is important to know that a strong emphasis of your coursework will come from your medical school prerequisites, there is no “right” major for anyone pre-health (or even pre-law for that matter). It is worth noting however it could be convenient for you to go with a science related major (e.g: Biology, Health Sciences, Chemistry, etc.) so that your prerequisites coincide with your major requirements (2 birds 1 stone) but in the big picture your major doesn’t matter too much. However, if you want to study something very niche and specific, and you are certain that this is pertinent to your end goals then go for it (this might apply to people who are looking for a specific branch of a liberal arts field, or a specific type of engineering), but for example if you want to major in Neuroscience and go to a distant school for that specifically while your end goal is Medical School, you can simply do a common Biology major at a local school and still be able to get into medical school just as easily (easily is a bad word because nothing is really easy to be honest).
Everyone has their own story, their own journey and their own path. As cliché as it sounds, don’t compare yourself to others so much, everyone’s circumstances are different, and a lot of things go on in other people’s lives that we don’t know about and may never know about. Ultimately you need to do what is best for you, you have your whole life ahead of you and you shouldn’t put false ideas into your head that college is the end all be all or that college is going to be the best years of your life (You really think the climax of your life should be at 22?). You should start asking yourself deeper questions, are you the type to get homesick? Would getting your own space be beneficial to your relationship with your family? Are you ready to be sorta on your own? Is it something you can afford? Are you doing it because you want to or because everyone else is leaving? Through it all, think carefully, evaluate your options and the costs, talk to the right people, and make an informed decision. In the end things will work out, so long you work hard and have honest intentions things will work out.