New Club Unites International Perspectives


Nour Kreishan

Senior Francesca Bolastig stands by a sign promoting United Perspectives during Creek’s Ethnic Fest hosted on March 2. By starting United Perspectives, Bolastig hopes to provide a place for immigrants to discuss and share in their experiences. “We really wanted to make a club that emphasizes the fact that immigrants are safe here at Creek,” Bolastig said.

Nour Kreishan, Staff Writer

Other kids walk straight past you as you stand awkwardly in the cafeteria, clutching the straps of your backpack. Their clothes are funny, nothing like the ones packed away in your moving boxes. Their food is funny, nothing like your pungent, homemade lunch. They even talk funny, it sound’s nothing like your mother tongue. But nothing is funny about the looks they give you.

Alienation is commonly felt by immigrants and it’s more hard-hitting in schools, where kids are surrounded by people that seem to have nothing in common with them.

“I didn’t really know how to approach people because they already seemed so ingrained in their culture,” said senior Francesca Bolastig, Filipino immigrant and United Perspectives president. “I was just trying to put myself in that culture, but I couldn’t.”

Many immigrants at Creek can vouch on how dehumanizing it is to be outcasted, reduced to a foreigner. They are pressured to abandon their cultural identity and adjust to new norms if they want to be accepted by this unfamiliar society. 

“My accent went away pretty fast, I don’t know why it did,” said junior Raima Kumar, an Indian immigrant and United Perspectives board member. “Maybe a part of it was because I wanted to just get rid of it.”

Though most schools like Creek have clubs for specific ethnicities where members can avoid being isolated and outcast, there can still be lingering feelings of disconnection and exclusivity. Junior and Mexican immigrant Paola Juarez Gonzalez, upon invite, went to a Muslim Student Association meeting but because she wasn’t Muslim, she couldn’t help but feel out of place. 

“I would be welcomed in the club, but I feel like I wouldn’t be able to talk with them about the same things,” said Juarez Gonzalez, who became a United Perspectives member. “I definitely wouldn’t be able to share the same experiences with them.”

Knowing that this distress still existed regardless of these established clubs, Bolastig was determined to make a difference. 

“We really wanted to make a club that emphasizes the fact that immigrants are safe here at Creek,” Bolastig said.

United Perspectives’ first meeting was held last October. Since the club’s establishment a few months ago, many of the meetings held are to discuss heavy topics experienced by immigrants, like racism and discrimination.

“It’s hard to assimilate yourself [into Creek], especially if you’re coming from a different place,” Bolastig said. “The whole idea behind United Perspectives is to give immigrants that voice that they don’t really have at school.”

The motive of United Perspectives is not only to create a safe and welcoming environment for immigrants who feel alienated at Creek but also to provide their members, who don’t have to be newcomers, with a wider perspective on society.

“Whether you’re an immigrant or not, come and learn from each other, because I think the best learning experience is hearing other people’s perspectives,” marketing teacher and United Perspective’s sponsor Mallory Cleveland said. “If we can see the world from somebody else’s eyes, we’ll be a more inclusive place.”

However, the biggest problem United Perspectives currently faces is the low attendance rate at their recent meetings.

“Having less people defeats the point of having United Perspectives,” Kumar said. “We can’t have many perspectives if we don’t have many people.”

It’s difficult for United Perspectives to accomplish its goal of having a diverse environment where students can share their experiences and views with one another if there are very few people coming to their meetings.

“If you want the community to be more accepting or more open to other people, you should come to United Perspectives to take that step with us,” Juarez Gonzalez said.