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Two students dancing on a stage.

May is a celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the United States. Last Friday at Emma Willard School, we gathered at an assembly presented by the Asian Student Union (ASU) and the South Asian Sub Division (SASD) to recognize AAPI culture in our country and institution.

The Asian Heritage Month Assembly, kicked off with a choreographed dance before covering a wide variety of topics, presenting on microaggressions and how to help combat them, and ‘Cultural Music and Instrumentation in Different Asian Countries’ with musical interludes, ending with the now traditional finale dance. The event was punctuated with various performances, and a Kahoot (for which the always-competitive community teamed up in groups to get the correct answers) highlighting the importance of balancing moments of joy and celebration along with raising awareness about the experiences of those within the AAPI community. 


Three students at a podium, with a screen behind them about microaggressions.

Students presenting during the AAPI Assembly. 


ASU Co-Heads reflected on this year’s assembly: 


Hanh N. ’24, ASU Co-Head

After over a month of preparation from both ASU members and the club leadership team alike, I was very proud of how the assembly turned out! I think we did a good job of bringing both a mix of cultural and racial awareness to the assembly from presentations on Asian-target Microaggressions and cultural instrumentation to traditional Chinese cultural dance and modern K-pop dance performances. Of course, like everyone else, I always love to see the SASD dances come to life each year at the end of our ASU Assembly! After three years of being co-head, it always surprises me to reflect back on how much our club as a whole has grown and it was a wonderful way to end my senior year with the AAPI Assembly and Holi celebration! I will surely miss all our dedicated members, my fellow co-heads, and Ms. Hao (our club advisor) as I depart!


Sherry H. ’24, ASU Co-Head

The assembly turned out amazing with all our members' hard work! The traditional Chinese dance, performances from SASD, and kpop dances showed the diverse artistry of Asia. I loved the informative presentations we had as well, from the sessions on Microaggressions to the instrumentations that bring awareness to our community. The Kahoot game also had amazing results! I loved to see the whole school's excitement to get the answer right. For next year, I think we can give our members more guidance around the individual presentations. For example, the diverse culture presentation group needed to add sound edits for each instrument! Overall, I was super impressed with what our members are able to accomplish in such a busy time of the year. Congrats to everyone's hard work this year! I'm super proud of you all.


Two students dancing with fans on a stage.

Two students perform a Hanfu dance.


“The ASU AAPI assembly has always meant a lot to me and definitely holds some of my most core memories at Emma,” said Kayley Y .’25, an ASU member and one of the performers in this year’s Hanfu dance. 

“I have zero dance experience and am honestly, a very bad dancer. This made performing at the assembly this year all the more precious as not only was I able to share some beautiful traditions of my culture with the school, but I was also able to take this opportunity to learn how to dance in the way I've grown up seeing and learn more about my culture myself! From taking my first step inside the dance studio to my first step on the Kiggins stage, wearing the Hanfu and holding the fan has been such a rewarding experience and I can't wait for next year!”



A student in flowing costume dances on stage.


Planning the assembly is a collaborative effort between all members of the club and their advisor, Chinese Instructor Guangyu Hao. ASU organizes and sponsors many events throughout the year (including the Mid-Autumn Festival and Lunar New Year, alongside many other smaller happenings) that are well-attended and have become an integral part of Emma Willard School’s campus traditions.


Students at a podium with a screen behind them with a powerpoint.

Students presenting on different instruments. 

“I am so proud of our students who contributed to the AAPI Assembly this year. The co-heads worked really hard to carry out a plan, and the members also dedicated themselves to the preparation and rehearsal in a very short time,” she says.

“Our goal was to create an inclusive event where AAPI students can show the pride of their own cultures while connecting with the entire Emma community. I believe we successfully achieved our goal. I was glad to see the active participation from the audience in the Kahoot game and to hear the cheering and applause for the dances performed by SASD members and their friends. From informative presentations to amazing performances, I enjoyed every single second of the assembly. This marked a perfect period for my advisory work with ASU this year.”

Friday evening, ASU-SASD threw a Holi celebration on campus. The event was rescheduled due to weather complications earlier in the spring season, but the new date allowed for warm weather for the festival of colors! 

For more coverage on their events, and a closer look at the informational posters and presentations (including this year’s presentation with suggestions for how to prevent microaggressions) visit the ASU Instagram account!


Students pose on stage at the end of a large group dance.


More photos from the assembly are on our SmugMug!


Find more interesting stories about Emma Willard School on our Newsroom page.