Emilia Pantigoso, Jacinta Smith, and Kayla Yan are the founders of the Multicultural Student Union at Mamaroneck High School. We are seniors at Mamaroneck High School and have been students in the school district since elementary school. We have each experienced firsthand the struggles of suppressing our diverse and culturally rich backgrounds in the Mamaroneck School District. We want to contribute to the ongoing efforts led by MHS Alumni and community organizations in Mamaroneck that work to support students of color and provide them with more confidence to succeed.
Through our outreach we have seen the importance of communicating with students about the social climate at Mamaroneck High School regarding diversity, representation, and lack of equal treatment. All students of color encounter microaggressions surrounding racial stereotypes about their cultural traditions, economic status, and physical attributes. As a result, students of color internalize small comments and can suffer from lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and shame about their identity. We want to offer guidance and support for these students by asserting a louder presence in the community and High School. Many organizations, clubs, and resources exist for high school students, but our goal is to consolidate these resources into the Union and pronounce them. We also intend to see student-led initiatives through clubs, outside organizations, and in community building events like rallies and cultural celebrations. The beautiful mix of blended backgrounds that exists in both Mamaroneck and Larchmont deserve to be celebrated and heard. We’ve each had to straddle multiple cultures, traditions and viewpoints all our lives. This makes us better able to understand problems and issues from multiple perspectives.
The Multicultural Student Union is composed of five main branches: Social Justice Events, Student Engagement, Resources & Education, Fundraising and District Outreach. Each branch will have an assigned faculty advisor(s) to help oversee it as well as multiple student directors. There will be two types of directors: senior directors (11th and 12th grade) and junior directors (9th and 10th grade). Junior directors will be mentored by senior directors and promoted to senior directors once they become upperclassmen. We plan to have a wide range of leadership roles so that students are able to participate as much as they’d like to. Here is a more in depth explanation of each available leadership role/branch:
Chief Executive: Responsible for overseeing all branches and assisting student directors
(Jacinta Smith, Kayla Yan, Emilia Pantigoso)
Director of Social Justice Events: Responsible for organizing events for MHS students at MHS or other local centers. Also includes facilitating club meetings, planning MLK assembly, heritage months, rallies/protests/walkouts and bringing in outside speakers.
Director of Student Engagement: In charge of reaching out to underclassmen through club fair, summerfest and connecting clubs.
(Alina Bhardwaj, Micheala Williams, Mr. Shansky, Sra. Lugo)
Director of Resources and Education: In charge of consolidating and providing information on scholarships, tutoring, life skills, etc. Also includes managing and updating our social media platform & website. (Mackenzie Minguillo)
Director of Fundraising: In charge of managing future funds from events.
Director of District Outreach: In charge of organizing events with district schools (i.e Hommocks Middle School and the elementary schools).
(Alina Bhardwaj, Britney Urritia, Mrs. Genwright)
We have conducted over fifteen interviews with Mamaroneck High School students. Ranging from different grades and ethnicities, these students shared their experiences and what they’d like to see change at MHS. We have incorporated their, as well as our advisors, ideas and suggestions into what we plan to carry out through the Union. We have organized individual branches and roles of leadership to fully confront all the issues pointed out to us and also to provide as much help and support as possible. This framework will ensure the continuation of the club after we have graduated from MHS and give future generations something to build off of. We have launched our social media platform and have an active website with updated community resources, notable cultural celebrations, useful links, etc.
The Multicultural Student Union will provide a space for all students to learn about each other’s culture, experiences and struggles with their ethnicity. The Union will provide beneficial resources for students and ultimately become more involved in the community.