Vietnamese Club: A Club Full of Togetherness

Rockin+out+with+Viet+Club%3A+co-presidents+Nhi+Bui+and+Liv+Nguyen+provide+supporting+vocals+and+vice+president%2C+Vincent+Nguyen+stands+onlooking+as+their+friend+does+karaoke+to+Gangnam+Style+by+PSY.

Maria Pushart

Rockin out with Viet Club: co-presidents Nhi Bui and Liv Nguyen provide supporting vocals and vice president, Vincent Nguyen stands onlooking as their friend does karaoke to Gangnam Style by PSY.

Having made an atypical return in March of 2022 rather than starting in the fall, like most clubs here at North Penn, the Vietnamese club welcomes all who are interested in new cultures, people who want to have fun, and of course, those who are Vietnamese.

After they realized no one was stepping up to revive the club, co-presidents Nhi Bui and Liv Nguyen, with the help of Mr. Brendon Mostert, took charge of bringing back the club. Nguyen’s older sister, Hannah Nguyen, who is now a North Penn graduate, previously headed the club and encouraged her younger sister to take over the club. Mostert spoke with Nguyen asking if she would like to fill the role but she shared how she didn’t feel as connected to her culture as she wished, but how the club has really helped her grow her identity.

“She was kind of pushing me to take over, and at first I was hesitant because I wasn’t really, like, too connected with my culture, and so I was afraid I couldn’t become president of a club and not know anything about the culture …even though we may not be the most cultured out there we care enough to take those initiative steps and learn about the culture, and I think it’s very meaningful to me because through this club I learned that a lot of members who are Vietnamese come from a similar position where they aren’t really too enact with their cultural identity but they are trying to reconnect with it and I can sympathize with that” Nguyen expressed.

Both Bui & Nguyen shared how joining and running this club has given them a chance to find their community and grow their cultural identity that they once struggled with, especially when it came to the idea of fitting in as well as helping other people connect with their identity. This club also brings people together no matter what culture they come from, and educates people about a culture they might not have thought about learning about.

“For me when I was younger it was kind of a struggle, especially because in the North Penn area it’s predominantly white so I really didn’t have anywhere to go and my parents really didn’t talk to me about culture or language either so finding my cultural identity after so many years of keeping out or acting like it wasn’t really existent it was hard but I think finding other Vietnamese students and the club was like ‘oh snap’ moment…I do have this culture and I do have these people in my community who understand me and my experiences” Bui shared.

“This club means a lot to me because I think growing up, I grew up in North Penn which is predominantly white so it was hard to fit in, and other Asians were typically Indian, Chinese, or Korean and I’m not any of those and so it was really difficult because when I was talking to the Asian kids I really didn’t fit in or I didn’t feel Asian enough because I didn’t understand their culture and I obviously couldn’t fit in with the white kids because I wasn’t white enough…So starting Vietnamese club it was really the first type of environment where I felt at peace” Nguyen voiced.

North Penn has a plethora of cultural clubs and more and more clubs are introduced each year. The Vietnamese club sheds light on Southeast Asian culture and expands the representation of Asian culture here at the high school. Club treasurer, Darin Nguyen, expressed how he feels the Vietnamese club shares the beauty of his culture as well as identifies it in the community of Asian cultures.

I feel like a lot of different schools, they don’t really go into specifics about individual Asian cultures. There’s a lot of different ethnic cultures in the Asian community so I feel like this is so important to bring light to each and every single beauty and each and every single different culture, because the Asian community, even though we may seem similar we have so many difference so I feel like to have a Vietnamese club just really brings light to the beauty of Vietnamese culture.”

— Darin Nguyen

“I feel like a lot of different schools, they don’t really go into specifics about individual Asian cultures. There’s a lot of different ethnic cultures in the Asian community so I feel like this is so important to bring light to each and every single beauty and each and every single different culture because the Asian community even though we may seem similar we have so many difference so I feel like to have a Vietnamese club just really brings light to the beauty of Vietnamese culture” Nguyen conveyed.

This club’s existence gives people a safe environment to express themselves, Vietnamese or not. Although it’s about educating people about the culture who are not a part of it, it brings those together who are and provides a sense of community and comfort. Vice President, Vincent Nguyen, shared how this club gave them a positive outlook on their cultural identity.

“Being a part of Vietnamese club is really important to me since my whole life I’ve been kinda looked down on for being Vietnamese but to see over 20 people, over 30 people every meeting, it’s a lot, especially since all the other schools I’ve been to I was like one of the only Vietnamese people in my grade” Nguyen commented.

Although the club’s main focus is to educate about Vietnamese culture, a lot of fun comes from bringing people together. Bui shared how their favorite memory came from their last meeting of last school year, which was a combined meeting with the Chinese Cultural club where she had the chance to watch a movie with all of her friends. Nguyen shared how her favorite memory was when she was denied entry back into school until 2:30, which is when clubs start but she needed to set up for a scavenger hunt. She was able to sneak in a bit earlier before the club started and with a pressuring time crunch had to run all around the school with the help of her officers to set up. Club secretary, Natalia Au, also commented on what the club means to her and how their club welcomes anyone to have fun.

“It’s one of my favorite memories just because everyone in this club, like all my officers, were all friends and so we were like calling each other like, where are you right now can you come set this up and for some reason I picked every object to hang and I could not hang anything above 5 ft. So I had to call Juheon (club historian) and be like can you come hang this, can you come pick me up… and it was just fun. I think that meeting and that stressful moment brought us together,” Nguyen remarked.

“I think this club mostly means to me spreading awareness on our culture and just bringing people from other cultures out to come and experience what it’s like for everyone to be together and make sure that everyone is always welcome to come in and just have fun,” Au mentioned.

As for the clubs’ future plans, both presidents mentioned participating in a combined meeting with other clubs that celebrate the lunar new year at the end of this month. There is also a big event in the works to combine all the cultural clubs North Penn has to offer, being organized by Bengali Clubs’ president, Jamee Islam, and is expected to take place March 17th.

“Our demographic isn’t majority Vietnamese, so I think Vietnamese club has this certain dynamic where we’re a lot of people just trying to learn and I do take into consideration a lot of my members aren’t Vietnamese so they’re not going to understand niche-type games, so I try to cater to them and try to make it as engaging as possible so that they learn,” Nguyen concluded.