SASA Club President: Alina Andrews

Apr 21, 2023

With a large South Asian population at Niles West High School, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) has grown in popularity. Senior and co-president of SASA, Alina Andrews, has taken a lead in spreading South Asian pride at West.

“SASA has become more well-known around the school so I’ve been able to show off my culture and it makes me feel South Asian pride,” Andrews said.

Andrews takes on responsibilities that include assigning tasks, making the daily agendas, planning upcoming meetings as well as assigning and revising assignments. Andrews collaborates with her co-president Romisa Saleem in leading the group.

Business education teacher and SASA club sponsor Raj Patel speaks on Andrews’ responsibilities in the club.

“I’ve known her since the beginning of [the] year. She is a tremendous leader. She delegates tasks based on members’ strengths. She is great under pressure and can always be counted on. She’s always positive and a great presence on board. Alina [also] choreographed dances for International Night and SASA night,” Patel said.

One of Andrews’ favorite high school memories is the “SASA Night,” which she and the club spent months planning. “SASA Night and International Night just happened which were really fun for us to show our culture to the school. It was very stressful planning SASA night. The night felt so relieving and the show went so great. It was so nice that after four years of not having one, we filled 85% of the auditorium.”

Andrews’ fellow board members commend her efforts in planning SASA night.

“Alina has been a great president of SASA. Preparing for our SASA night event, she’s helped choreograph over three dances and led the writing of the script of the event. She [put in] in many hours and a lot of effort for the night to go so smoothly and is a great leader for the club,” junior Jeslyn Varghese said.

Andrews has been involved in a form of Indian classical dancing called Bharatanatyam since she was five years old and has continued this passion into high school.

“I do Indian classical dancing outside of school. Four years ago when I started high school I started preparing for the Arengetram [this June 5th] which is like a huge celebration of my completion of Bharatanatyam. It’s like a big show where we fly in people from India to sing and stuff like that,” Andrews said.

Outside of SASA, Andrews is the captain of the varsity gymnastics team at West, competed at state in HOSA-Future Health Professionals, is the vice president of the Senior Cabinet, and is involved in the National Honors Society. She is majoring in biology at Nova Southeastern University in Florida in an eight-year accelerated optometry program. Over the summer, she will continue working at her job at Lifetime Fitness and may be traveling to France.

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