MSP strives to create an inclusive community


Photo courtesy of Fiona Galang

MSP members join together during lunch where they enjoy the food they brought as part of their Thanksgiving Potluck meeting. Some students even brought food from their own culture. They all shared what they were thankful for in a discussion.

The student body is beautifully diverse with students from different cultures and backgrounds. To allow for such students to thrive, one club has made it their mission to promote inclusivity within the school community: Minority Scholars Program (MSP).

“The overall goal is inclusivity and building a community where we can all feel welcome … we have a really diverse population and we want everyone to feel welcome and safe here. That’s what Minority Scholars is all about,” co-president and senior Fiona Galang said.

Every Thursday during lunch, Minority Scholars meets to discuss a variety of different social issues, listen to empowering guest speakers or collaborate on creative and meaningful art activities to honor the students’ heritages. Recently, the club came together to make posters to highlight Hispanic Heritage Month, which were then displayed all around the school. The event had a very large turnout as it was one of the first meetings to kick off the school year.

At a recent meeting, Minority Scholars hosted college student and former Minority Scholars leader and member Khadydiatou Diouf during lunch. She spoke about her experience as a black woman attending Howard University while giving advice to those applying to college. Bringing in guest speakers who students can relate to is just one of the many ways that Minority Scholars is further inspiring and motivating its members.

The club is highly dedicated to giving its members equal opportunities for their academic futures ahead.

“A lot of our meetings are about helping everybody find scholarship opportunities, opportunities within the school for tests, studying and all of that,” Galang said.

With a large number of Minority Scholars members being upperclassmen, they are currently in the midst of the college process, making it a suitable discussion topic for meetings. The club is using their resources to alleviate stress, educate and assist their members with the necessary tools for educational success.

“As [we] progress throughout the year, we will be talking about, ‘how do we break the opportunity gap? How do we help our students strive here at WJ?’” co-president and senior Diane Juica said.

The opportunity gap is how aspects such as race or ethnicity interfere with achieving educational success. Minority Scholars hones in on this pressing issue by giving students the necessary resources such as SAT materials and directs them towards scholarships.

With each meeting being a space for members to bond, the close-knit community continues to thrive.

“It’s kinda hard, especially in the WJ community, finding my own place and my own voice and I feel like I found it now, especially at MSP … MSP has helped so many individuals grow as young activists that they want to become,” Juica said.

In addition to finding the club in the Student Commons during lunch, they may be found at sporting events concessions to fundraise for their most important upcoming event in the spring.

“There’s a lot of events that go on in MSP like the Minority Scholars Annual Retreat where we’ll spend money towards that and plan the retreat with other schools, last year it was at our school,” Galang said.

Minority Scholars is already a large club with active and dedicated members, but several students are unaware of the invaluable opportunities and experiences it provides.

“I really hope that MSP branches out because people know about it, but they don’t feel comfortable coming to the meetings, so I really hope the word gets out that it is a safe environment for people to come in and get to meet people. And you don’t have to be a minority; we talk about different issues,” treasurer and sophomore Anah Simwenyi said.

The officers’ dedication to planning inclusive events has initiated growth beyond their club, and they look forward to what’s to come.

“WJ has done such a great job this year with equity and equality, and I’m seeing a big change, and I hope that it can continue and we can keep growing as a school, and good things come from MSP in the future,” Simwenyi said.