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November 9, 2004 > James Logan Vietnamese Student Association

James Logan Vietnamese Student Association

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

On Sunday, October 10th, 15 students from the James Logan High School Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) participated in the Mid-Autumn Vietnamese Student Association Talent Competition. Held at the Milpitas Community Center, VSA members from all over the Bay Area took part in the competition competing in four categories including Cultural Dance, Jeopardy, Speech and Singing.

James Logan VSA took 1st place in both the Cultural Dance and Student Speaker competitions. The dance team practiced all summer long in order to prepare for the competition in which they had placed 2nd last year. Club President Cassey Ho, 17, usually designs the costumes worn by the dancers and has them tailored in Vietnam. However, this year, her mother, Bach Ho, tailored all the costumes for the group. The authentic northern Vietnamese hats used by the dancers were purchased from Vietnam. To pay for the costumes and props, the dancers sold candy at school.

The winner of the top prize in the Student Speaker Competition was Cassey Ho, a senior at Logan. Unknown to the judges and fellow competitors, her winning speech had been written, and memorized in the parking lot one hour before competition!

Ho first joined the Logan VSA during her freshman year to meet other Vietnamese students and to take part in cultural activities. With only five members in the club, Ho decided to take a leadership role and ran for president to change things for the better.

Her hard work paid off and the James Logan VSA now has over 50 members ranging from freshmen to senior year. Among the club officers are Vice President Thanh Nguyen, 12th grade, Head Treasurer Pamela Ly, 11th grade, Co-Treasurer Michael Hoang, 11th grade, Secretary Jennifer Hoang, 10th grade and Representative Lina Tran, 12th grade.
There are Vietnamese Student Associations throughout high schools and colleges across the nation, but they are not unified under any one central organization.

Ho spoke of the importance of cultural awareness. "It is important to be aware of one's culture as well as one's present environment. To merge the two ideas of traditional values with the younger generation's more modern perspective is the most important step we all must take in order to keep moving forward."

The goal of VSAs across the country is to not only unify Vietnamese students but make them more aware of their own culture and the role they play in it. The group also makes an effort to improve the community around them. Each year, the James Logan VSA joins with the Milpitas Vietnamese Lions Club to provide a free Thanksgiving Day dinner for low-income senior citizens in the area.

The James Logan VSA will participate in the Vietnamese spring festival during the Lunar New Year celebration held in Downtown San Jose. The festival takes place in late January or early February and last year, the Logan VSA took home the first place trophy for best unit (costumes, dancing, props, music, enthusiasm) out of over 100 units. The group hopes to impress the crowd again, this year.

Later in the school year, the group will hold a cultural assembly with skits, dancing, and fashion shows. Last year, the Logan VSA put on their first school-wide assembly in over five years and spectators recognized the production as "the best cultural assembly of the year."

"The VSA is dedicated to bringing students together to further enhance their experience of being a Vietnamese American," said Ho. "Our goal is to merge the traditions of our mothers and fathers with the new ideas of the young, therefore creating a culturally innovative voice within the community."

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