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The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Cross-school club collaborations create connections

In a busy classroom, three students talk animatedly. One wears purple, one wears blue and one wears red—each of these students is from a different school, yet they all connect over their shared plans and ideas. The majority of clubs are isolated within their school; however, some student organizations convene beyond the realms of CHS with other high schools in the area, extending the purpose of their group to a wider community.

VSA members from CHS, Fairfax High School, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Annandale High School, Oakton High School, W. T. Woodson High School, James Madison High School, Justice High School, Falls Church High School and South County High School attend a potluck on Nov. 25. (Photo used with permission of Tram-Anh Ly.)

Vietnamese Student Association

CHS’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) participated in a potluck with 10 other VSAs across Fairfax County on Nov. 25. Fairfax High School’s (FHS) VSA, one of the largest and most active in the county, hosted the event at Van Dyke Park, where around 50 attendees brought foods, like fried rice and egg rolls, and participated in volleyball and flag football games as Vietnamese music played in the background. 

“I’m not as in the community as a lot of other people, but this was my opportunity to get to know a lot of the other board members in Fairfax County,” VSA secretary and senior Tram-Anh Ly said. “I was able to tell them about plans that we were trying to do at Chantilly and things that we might want to introduce to VSA clubs in FCPS.”

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VSA president and senior Phuoc Phan attended VSA meetings across the county before CHS’s VSA was founded last year. When his friends on the FHS VSA board asked Chantilly to join, Phan agreed. VSA has plans to participate in future events with others in the cultural association in the future, including the annual Spring Roll, a similar potluck-style event later in the year.

“I take a lot of inspiration from other schools,” Phan said. “They all have separate styles and ideas of how to run meetings and how to keep people interested and I find it fun to be able to mix those together and create Chantilly’s own style of VSA. That’s kind of the whole point of VSA, to be able to connect these communities together.”

VSA meets every second Thursday of each month. More information about upcoming events can be found @chantillyvsa on Instagram.

Council of Food

Council of Food and Centreville High School’s Cooking Club make pumpkin spice pancakes at a joint meeting on Nov. 16. (Photo used with permission of Frank Chang.)

Friendships that span across high schools are often the impetus of club meetings that extend beyond the scope of just one school. Council of Food, a club focused on cooking diverse dishes, held a joint meeting with Centreville High School’s Cooking Club on Nov. 16 after Council of Food president and senior Frank Chang made plans with the newer food-related club’s president, a friend of his, to collaborate.

“It’s kind of funny, because there were actually more Centreville kids than Chantilly kids,” Chang said. “I think there were about 11 people from Chantilly and 18 to 20 people from Centreville.”

During the meeting, members of both clubs made pumpkin spice pancakes and lattes. In the future, the club hopes to travel to Centreville High School for a meeting.

“I think [collaborative club meetings] are a good idea because it promotes different people meeting each other from local schools and bonding between schools,” Chang said. “But it would be a little bit difficult for other clubs. Let’s say you have like, 30 people from another school—it’d be kind of difficult to transfer them over. Since our club is mostly seniors, they can all drive, so it’s not a problem.”

Council of Food meets once a month in room 283. More information about upcoming events can be found @cof_chs on Instagram.

Student Equity Ambassador Leaders

For the six Student Equity Ambassador Leaders (SEALs) at CHS, transportation is also not an issue, as the small group takes buses to high schools across FCPS during the school day. According to FCPS, the leadership group was developed to promote ideals of diversity and inclusion. Every month, SEALs visit a new school to meet with other SEAL representatives to discuss ideas to make both their individual schools and the county as a whole more equitable.

[Cross-school meetings] teach me a lot about myself because I’m able to see how other people think.”

— Junior Himesh Ahuja

“SEALs is really across the entire county,” junior Himesh Ahuja said. “I worked with a student from Woodson and we became really close friends and we started something of our own outside of SEALs just because we were able to learn from each other’s perspectives. It’s just a great experience knowing that people out there have different perspectives and that you can learn from them.”

CHS SEALs recently discussed the antisemitic symbol found in West Lot on Oct. 10 with other SEALs, who offered ideas on how to improve the situation. Recommendations from other schools included starting groups to make students feel more welcome and improving security near the West Lot and library.

“I think it’s just being able to connect with people,” Ahuja said. “That’s all. I now know people who I wouldn’t have known otherwise, and I’ve talked to people who are just different than me. It teaches me a lot about myself because I’m able to see how other people think.”

Although they are still not a common occurrence, more groups have begun to experiment with cross-school events. The drama department hosted a “Collab-aret” on Jan. 10, opening the opportunity for performers across six schools to showcase their talents. Korean Honor Society (KHS) has planned a Korean Culture Night with Centreville High School’s KHS on April 26 with performances, food and games to help fundraise for both groups.

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About the Contributor
Haley Oeur, Online Managing Editor
Haley Oeur is a senior in her third year with The Purple Tide. She loves walking into random clubs, and is part of the quiz bowl team, Reader's Club, Photo Club, MHS and more. In her free time, she likes to experiment with songs on her piano and guitar until she can’t remember the original melodies. She also enjoys attempting to read classic novels, walking around museums by herself and taking pictures of anything and everything.
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