New Club Unites Slavic Students at VHHS


Staff and students donate necessities to box set up by Slavic Student Association to refugees in Ukraine.

With the start of a new school year, it is common for VHHS students to eagerly search for new clubs and afterschool programs that make them feel at home. When Katya Nudgin (12) and Polina Chaadayeva (11) noticed a gap in the cultural clubs available for Slavic students, they took action into their own hands and created the Slavic Student Association, or SSA.

The purpose of the club was to create a space where students, Slavic or not, could feel surrounded by friends and bond with others similar to them. 

“There’s a really large Slavic community [at VHHS], like Polish, Russian, Ukrainian,” said Nudgin (12). “And I feel like there was no club really representing them.”

SSA meets every other Wednesday after school in room 1209 and is welcome to all. The meetings consist of various activities and games, such as movie nights, competitions, and more. 

“My favorite memory is when we played card games because I felt like that really brought us together,” said Chaadayeva (11). “It was the beginning of our club and I feel like that day really connected students because many of them just moved from Slavic countries and they knew the card games by heart and were able to teach others how to play.”

With the club’s immense popularity, Nudgin and Chaadayeva plan on redoing popular activities from last year, as well as expanding the club to communities outside of school. Their goal for the Slavic Student Association is to participate in donation drives, specifically for Ukrainian families and students in need.

SSA is allowing students to feel a sense of belonging while also exploring their culture and having fun with their peers. In addition to Slavic students, the club also welcomes students of all cultural backgrounds as allies.

“I enjoyed Russian cartoons with my friends and immersing myself in their culture,” said Emma Anderson (12), a non-Slavic participant of the club. “I feel like it is important that people take initiative to learn about other cultures that they may not belong to so that they can have a broader view of the world and have more respect for people who are different from them.”