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Lake Oswego High School students use co-curriculars to stay connected and educate community.

COURTESY PHOTO: ALICIA LI - The Asian American Student Union at LOHS talks with coach Marshall Cho about Asian identity.

For students at Lake Oswego High School, school is about more than just the classes. That's why, when they learned school would be remote for the start of the year and the foreseeable future, they decided to find a way to make co-curricular activities happen regardless.

Andrew Li, a senior at LOHS and the unity director for the Associated Student Body (ASB), planned an assembly for both LOHS and Lakeridge High School students on Dec. 15.

Educator and public speaker Erin Jones gave a talk via Zoom to the student bodies. Li, whose role on the ASB is to promote diversity and inclusion, said the assembly centered on those topics and that it was the first in a three-part series.

"The problem we're addressing is, 'How may we educate the community on the lack of diversity in Lake Oswego?'" Li said.

Specifically, the December assembly was on the topic of the importance of each individual's personal story.

The next assembly, to take place sometime in February, will be on the importance of listening to others' personal stories. The final assembly in the series, in May, will be about challenging oneself to take action on something that affects a community.

"It's crazy how listening to other people's stories, you can see yourself within them," Li said.

Alicia Li, a sophomore at LOHS, said that at the start of the school year, she and some friends who are also Asian American decided they wanted to build community by creating the school's first Asian American Student Union.

Their goal is for Asian American students in LOHS to have a safe place to build community with one another, as well as educate the broader student body and community on Asian American identity.

Li helped arrange an event where the LOHS boys basketball coach Marshall Cho spoke to the group about his Asian American identity.

"We decided to invite coach Marshall Cho as a speaker because we know he's an amazing member of our community … and he always talks about Asian American representation," Li said.

The event gathered about 100 people.

AASU hopes to do more events like this in the future, but members do have some other projects up their sleeves.

Li said they're currently working on a series of educational Instagram posts for their club's account.

The first will be on the topic of microaggressions: what they are, how they affect the Asian American community and how they've become more prevalent since the start of the pandemic.

The group members also just want to have fun together. They hosted a Friendsgiving over Zoom where they all ate lunch together and a game night where they played Skribbl over Zoom.

'We just want to be a fun space for the Asian Americans to gather," Li said.

To keep up with what AASU is doing, follow them on Instagram @lohs.aasu.

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