International Week: Assyrian Club

Aila Durakovic

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International Week: Assyrian Club

By Aila Durakovic, Staff Writer

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of International Week stories about ethnic clubs to highlight the diversity of Niles West.

Niles West is well known for its wide range of diversity throughout the student body. There’s a variety of clubs dedicated to a bunch of different cultures that students can join and learn from, and International Week is a demonstration of all the different cultural clubs have spent the year working on. Assyrian Club is one such club that has been participating yearly in the International Week festivities.

The club has been around for a while, but just recently got a new sponsor, Niles West alumna Ramina Odicho. Odicho has been working hard and putting in tons of effort to help the students by listening to their suggestions and finding ways to make their hopes for the club a reality.

“I heard that the club needed a new sponsor, so I thought that it was my duty to step up and take over. It’s weird being on the other side of it now, but it also gives me insight because I know exactly how things ran when I was a club member,” Odicho said.

Having a hardworking sponsor for a club is crucial, but having an ambitious group of club members is just as important. The students in Assyrian Club are very passionate about their culture and put their heart and soul into the work they do for the club. Sophomore Abigail Enwia was aware of the club since her older siblings were in it and decided to join during her freshman year.

“I want our school to become aware that we exist and aren’t a dead culture,” Enwia said. “Last year, we fundraised around one thousand dollars to donate to refugee charities, and this year we’ve been fundraising again to be able to donate more money.”

A majority of the club members were familiar with the club because of family members who’ve been in the club before; sophomore Andrew Zomaya was introduced to the club by one of his older cousins. Assyrian culture had always been a part of his life, but Zomaya was never very aware of the history and traditions in was made up of.

“The club definitely teaches you a lot about the Assyrian culture. I’ve never been fluent in the language, but some of the kids in here are, so they’re teaching me Assyrian. I’m also learning more of the cultural dances because I only knew one which was the easiest one out of them all. I’ve learned so much more than I knew before, and I feel so much closer and better informed on the Assyrian culture,” Zomaya said.

The club has expanded over the years and has been increasing its popularity. Members are becoming one with their culture and trying to help their title survive. Most of the money being raised in the fundraisers goes straight to charity to help their people, which makes the significance of the club to its members incredibly strong.

“We meet every Wednesday after school in room 1225, so please come if you’re willing to join or just want to checkout the club. It truly is a lot of fun, and you get to learn so much. At the same time, you get to help out the Assyrian people in need,” Zomaya said.