Changing Demographics Bring New Student Unions

ASU, BSU, LSU Chapters Start

March 16, 2023


As the student population grows, it continues to diversify. With almost 2,000 students, the school has seen more diversity in recent years. 

     Assistant principal Kevin Kooi has been at the school seven years, and said he had seen the student body grow.

     “When I first got here, we had 1,350 kids roughly, and now we’re over 1,900,” Kooi said. “I’ve seen an increase in total students. I certainly think any time you gain nearly 600 students, you’re going to see a change in the demographic of the student body.”

     Three cultural student unions have been launched second semester. Sophomore Kimberly Garcia started the Latin Student Union (LSU). 

     “Everybody always says that Staley is a white-based school, and for the most part it is true, but we have a lot of diversity,” Garcia said. “We just don’t express it as much. Having so many unions that could express their thoughts, is going to make the school way better and more diverse.”

     LSU had their first meeting March 10 during W.I.N Time in Spanish teacher Holly Willard’s classroom CR227.

     The Black Student Union (BSU) had their first meeting March 3. Senior Cayla Palmer is the president of the BSU. 

     “We are all Falcons, and we all need to feel like we belong in the community, and the unions are where it will begin,” Palmer said.


Grace Winkler

  Focused on bringing a new cultural perspective to the school community, students started the Asian Student Union (ASU)  at the beginning of second semester. Sponsored by art teacher Manabu Takahashi, he said three students came to him with the idea for the club.

     “They wanted to have an organization to help celebrate and showcase the representation of the Asian background and community that exists here at Staley,” Takahashi said.

     He said when he brought the idea of the club to administration, specifically activities director Christopher Neff, they supported the idea.

     “They were very excited that there was potential to have a club focusing on the diversity and the equity that exists here at Staley,” Takahashi said.

     ASU vice president junior Jaydan Pham said he wanted to see more representation of Asian culture at the school.

     “Other schools had them, so I thought, ‘Why not have one at Staley?’” Pham said.

     The club hosted their first event Jan. 20, a decoration day that occurred after school in celebration of Lunar New Year. Anyone was welcome to help, and Takahashi said the event had a quick turnaround.

     “Truth be told, it was slightly hectic, only because our club had just started,” Takahashi said. “Lunar New Year was about to happen within two weeks, so in the short span of time we had to get organized, we had to gather members, and we had to announce to do the decorations. But in the end we were able to do it, so it has been a success.”

      Club member sophomore Natalia Phan said the decorations had a positive impact on students and faculty. 

     “A lot of the teachers and students came to me and asked me a lot of questions about it, and some of them asked if they could help decorate next year,” Phan said.

     Takahashi said ASU received a lot of support, including from people who don’t have Asian heritage.

     “There are members that are in the club that are not representative of Asian heritage, but they consider themselves an ally,” Takahashi said. “I think that is a great term, and a positive and uplifting thought, that they are going to be here to support us.”

     Establishing a safe community for Black students, the Black Student Union (BSU), is a new up-and-coming club started by students. 

     The club is sponsored by campus supervisor Yalada Reed. She wanted to sponsor the club to help the students who had initially

Grace Winkler

approached her with the idea.

     “The young ladies who had asked me were looking for some support, and I know they didn’t have a whole lot of choices with Black staff here,” Reed said.

     Senior Neema Omana helped organize the club. Omana said the idea developed from a class discussion regarding other schools in the district.

     “Other schools have all these different clubs,” Omana said. “An Asian Student Union, or a Muslim Student Association and a Black Student Union. Then if you come to Staley there are basically no diverse clubs that students can involve themselves in.”

     Reed hoped the club would bring people together.

     “I just want a community,” Reed said. “To see all the Black students here support other things, dress out for spirit week. It seems like it is always just very few, and I think that is because some of the Black students here don’t feel like they fit in.”

     The club had its first meeting March 3, in the Flex Auditorium during WIN Time. 


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