Study your Pacific Islander roots

By Roseline Collins - Staff Reporter

The No. 1 mission of the Pacific Islanders Club is that members have fun and learn to develop good relationships with each other, said the club's president. 

Fuifui Ah Kuoi, a second-year student at Highline, said that club members have been working to change the image of the club. 

"[Some people] think our club is [just] about hanging out or not getting any work done," she said. 

Ah Kuoi said the purpose of the club is the exact opposite as it encourages members to come to school, help each other both in and out of the club, and be good role models for peers and high school students who have chosen to attend Highline. 

The club has done many great things together, said Ah Kuoi, such as taking a field trip to a museum, going to the movies, performing public service, and presenting performances throughout the community. 

Kaitlen Taoipu, the vice president of the club, said she is grateful for the relationships she has built because before the club she only had a limited number of connections at Highline. Now she has created many friendships. 

"I hope this club grows, not only because we would like more Pacific Islander students [to join] but to grow academically," she said.

Taoipu said that though the club participates in many dances, the club is actively focused on the academic growth of its members. 

"We are really trying hard to let other Pacific Islander members know we are here," she said. 

The leaders of the club host study workshops Mondays through Thursdays every week from 1:30-3:20 p.m. in Building 10, room 102. Fridays are workshops to practice for upcoming performances or events. 

Nestor Enguerra, the retention specialist for the college's Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, also serves as the adviser of the club and said he values working with the group since last fall. 

"They are a group of students trying to understand themselves and their roots," he said.

Enguerra said that he appreciates how Highline accepts the cultures of others and he encourages his students to use the power of their own heritage to connect with peers in the school and their community. 

"I want them to know that they have importance, value and knowledge," he said. 

Club member Christalyn, who asked that her last name not be used, said "The club is great. We all have a lot of fun not only when we meet on Tuesdays but also outside of our meetings. It has built amazing friendships for all of us since it has started and has only begun to grow since we have the support given to us by Nestor and Ekk [Ekkarath Sisavatdy, the director of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution] through the study tables." 

The weekly activities of the club include: opening with a prayer, providing announcements and discussing opportunities happening around campus, doing ice breakers to get to get to know each other, eating food, and sometimes presenting PowerPoints on each other's cultures, said Ah Kuoi. 

The club meets every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building 8, room 301 on the third floor. 

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