Ethnic Essence celebrates diversity and identity


Ayomide Akintola and Lena Donatelli

When the bell rings at 3:30 most students rush to their cars or the school bus, ready to escape the school. But other students are in no rush to leave. They look forward to the end of the school day because that’s when after school activities begin and communities of people come together who share similar interests and hobbies. 

Ethnic Essence, one of the newest clubs at CT, aims to bring people of all backgrounds together as they share their experiences and their culture. 

Snacks are being passed out. A PowerPoint is being presented. Light chatter fills the air as a presentation plays, and questions fly back and forth across the room. “[Ethnic Essence] is a nice warm, friendly environment to sit down,“ said junior Enthisar Adu-Darko, a member of the club, “You just learn new things you’ve never heard of,” she adds.

As the meeting proceeds, information from different cultures are introduced, questions come up, and conversations build, “[They’re] so many people from different cultures…countries and ethnic groups [at our school],” said Adu-Darko, “We can all get together and learn about them.”

Ethnic Essence is a club created by students in an attempt “to bring them together and build a sense of community,” said teacher sponsor, Darryl Hall, “[This club gives minority students] a better sense of belonging and… ownership of their school.”

Conversations are student-led and from the perspective of young adults, “I’m really proud of the students that showed the initiative to get this started,” said Hall. This club provides a place within the school where minority student voices and opinions can be heard. “[It is] a place and a platform to share ideas…everybody is welcome,” said Hall.

Ethnic Essence is not a club for just people of color. One of the clubs main goals is to share and educate. “You can learn about other people [and] where they come from,” said freshman Joshua Dantzler.

 Everybody has a story to tell about their individual identity and culture within the school walls, and this club “…gives you a place to go share yourself,” Dantzler said. With approximately 3,000 students at CT this club is somewhere students can, ” learn about the people that [you are] going to school with,” said Dantzler.

“I want to create a club based on building bonds,” said junior Hannah Diakite, one of the two students responsible for the club’s creation. Being a part of different clubs at school aside from the one she started, Diakite hopes the club will “…impact the school environment by offering a different perspective.” 

Although this club is relatively new, they have already started to make themselves known within the school community, “Since [the start of the school year] we’ve hosted the international food night that [took place] before Kiva,” said Diakite. The group was in charge of introducing different foods from different cultures and the stories behind them. “I want everyone at CT to feel like a family [and] talk to each other no matter how they look.” 

With the club leaders preparing for their last year of highschool, they fear that the club will end when they leave, “…hopefully this won’t be the only year that this club will be here,” said junior Brynne Ayensa the other club creator, “Hopefully [our club] will make the school more open minded.” 

Ethnic Essence is hoping to unite students in a way that the classroom doesn’t, “If you understand somebody’s culture…you understand the world better and other people,” Ayensa concluded.