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Holliston - Local Town Pages

Raising Awareness, Celebrating Diversity

HHS Students Start First Asian American Student Association
By Susan Manning
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it unprecedented levels of physical and mental health issues.
Unfortunately, it also brought a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.
These crimes are one of the reasons three Holliston High School students— Allyson Lee, Ella Roth and Annanya Gargy—decided to launch the school’s first Asian American Student Association.“Stories during Covid made an impression, especially with the Asian hate stories. She (Allyson) has alway been a perfect student—never speaking out, getting good grades, not wanting to make waves. Then a raise of AAPI groups providing support to these issues,” raised her awareness of the situation, according to her father, Richard Lee.
The younger Lee, a senior at HHS, decided it was time to step up and be seen for who she was rather than trying to be like someone else.
“I started the club so Asian students at HHS can find a community with each other and embrace their Asian identity instead of just trying to assimilate with the white students. Most people wait until college to meet people with similar cultures, but I figured ‘Why wait?’” she said.
Being a senior this year, Lee wanted to start something that can create a lasting and inviting space for the underrepresented minority in the school and neighborhood.
Lee, who has lived in Holliston her entire life, said that in addition to a rise in Asian American hate crimes across the country, there has been a rise in racial graffiti in Holliston. She decided she could no longer sit on the sidelines.
She said she realized that Asian Americans are often viewed as the “model minority” and often underrepresented and overlooked and wanted to create something meaningful for the current and future students within Holliston.
“To make a community stronger, one must contribute so future generations and benefit,” she said.
So far, the club has been received with support. Her chemistry teacher, Amanda Rivera, was happy to step up and be the faculty advisor, she said. State Rep. James Arena-Derosa reached out to offer support and said he would like to pay a visit to the club in the near future.
Although membership is slow currently, the girls are pushing ahead.
“The membership has been slow, as other students don’t understand or don’t want to step out of social norms. That is the purpose of the club—to educate and provide support so these individuals can be supported,” said Lee.
The current agenda for the new group is to raise awareness and membership. Moving forward, they hope to host activities, speakers an informational gatherings.
“Right now, we are just focused on raising awareness,“ said Lee.
Lee’s father said he is very pleased with what his daughter and her friends are doing.
“It makes me very proud that she had the foresight and courage to step up,” he said.
Lee said she hopes the group will leave a lasting impression at Holliston High.
“Inclusion and diversity is very important. Sharing, education and support will make us all stronger for the future generations,” she said.