By Colleen Chasteau ‘15
The West Indian club offers a cultural explosion of the Caribbean. The club meets every Tuesday periods five and six in room A217. It is run by Ms. Patricia Heyligar.
The West Indian club has been a part of the school since the 1990s. It had been taken over by other teachers in the past but has not been active. Ms. Heyligar, who is of Jamaican decent, recently took it over and revitalized it.
A typical club meeting includes discussion groups on senior seminar , future possibilities and any events that occur within the West Indian community, for instance, the recent issuing of the first Jamaican Patois Bible. On Christmas parties held by the club in the past, members got to enjoy traditional Caribbean dishes like curry chicken, roti, salt fish, patties and oxtail just to name a few.
The club is active outside of school also. Members go to Caribbean cultural events sponsored by several museums and organization such as The Brooklyn Museum, The Harlem Museum of Art, and The American Museum of Natural History. In February the club is planning on attending a Black History Month story telling tribute hosted by The AMNH.
Aside from cultural events the club also works on giving back to the community. Each member makes small donations to buy clothing and personal articles to give to charities including Chip’s Food Kitchen in Park Slope which serves a large Caribbean population.
Students don’t have to be West Indian to join. The club accepts students of all ethnic groups and backgrounds.
“Every year the club population varies,” said Ms. Heyligar, “Last year we had a large Caribbean and African male population. This year the majority of the club is Asian but we always have been a sustained club.”
Club members are given the opportunity to share and compare cultural views with each other and learn more about West Indian heritage which has become a major part of the school due to the growing number students of West Indian descent.
“The club is beneficial to members because they get to exchange information on cultures,” explains Ms. Heyligar, “It shows the unique features that are different, but represent similar concept of ideology.”
West Indian culture is becoming more recognized especially in the New York’s melting pot. The West Indian club is contributing in the spread of awareness of this diverse culture.
Like the Jamaican motto says, “Out of many, one people.”