More Than a Monolith: FM High School’s First AAPI Assembly


Photo provided by Allison Wong

Students perform a traditional fan dance. Photo provided by Allison Wong

Students with a Kpop performance.
Students with a Kpop performance. (Photo provided by Allison Wong)

On May 15th, FM High School had its first Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Assembly. The student body crowded into the auditorium to witness a culmination of art, music, writing, and performances showcasing the variety of cultures and communities under the AAPI umbrella. 

The assembly included a bo staff performance by Jay Shi, a fan dance choreographed by Lucy Gamble, a South Asian dance directed by Nithya Gangireddy and Aanya Verma, a Tae Kwon Do skit performed by Allison and Ethan Wong, and a K-pop dance directed by Hannah Park, Abby Bird, and David Palmer. In between performances, a variety of student-produced photography, art, and writing were presented as well. The finale included the piece Reflections sung by FM students Hannah Park and Maya Perera, accompanied by a pit orchestra conducted by Sarah Rinzan. 

As an addition to the assembly, AAPI club partnered with FM Diversity Coalition to host an AAPI student panel in which topics of identity, personal experiences, representation, and discrimination could be discussed in further detail, with audience participation and dialogue. 

AAPI club was founded at the start of the 2022-2023 school year with co-founders Hannah Park, Sarah Rinzan, and Allison Wong as well as Trisha Adavikolanu (assembly director), Chloe Dion (club director), David Palmer (treasurer), and Angela Dong (secretary). Monthly club meetings featured Asian snacks, board games, and activities like origami, but the main focus throughout the year was planning and putting together an assembly for the first time. Ms. Allsopp, the club advisor, and Mr. Makay played integral parts in the production process as well, dedicating significant time and effort to bring to life many of the student ideas. 

The club’s hope for future years is to continue the precedent of spreading AAPI culture through various events as well as the annual assembly in May. This year’s assembly was an options assembly in which students and teachers could elect to attend during eighth period, but the ultimate goal is to reach the entire student body moving forward. 

Oftentimes, the many cultures and communities under the AAPI umbrella are labeled with generalizations or stereotypes, tangled-up misunderstandings gilded in model minority myths or erased names and faces from history textbooks. By presenting AAPI culture as something beautiful and diverse, the club hopes that these cultures and communities can be seen as much more than just a monolith and that people feel empowered to fight against stereotypes. The club hopes that audience members recognize that change is not too elusive to grasp, that the choice to educate oneself and harness the power of one’s own voice is a choice to make a positive difference in the world.