The Oracle

A Community of Culture

Lunar+Lotus+Members+Emma+Bilbo+%2810%29%2C+Angelina+Nahorny+%2811%29%2C+and+Bianca+Rademacher+%2810%29+pose+with+the+practice+rops+that+they+used+in+their+performance+at+the+Harvest+Moon+Festival+on+October+7th.+
Lunar Lotus Members Emma Bilbo (10), Angelina Nahorny (11), and Bianca Rademacher (10) pose with the practice rops that they used in their performance at the Harvest Moon Festival on October 7th.

Lunar Lotus Members Emma Bilbo (10), Angelina Nahorny (11), and Bianca Rademacher (10) pose with the practice rops that they used in their performance at the Harvest Moon Festival on October 7th.

Photo by Angel Trinh

Photo by Angel Trinh

Lunar Lotus Members Emma Bilbo (10), Angelina Nahorny (11), and Bianca Rademacher (10) pose with the practice rops that they used in their performance at the Harvest Moon Festival on October 7th.

Angel Trinh, Editor In Chief

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East has changed immensely since it opened its doors 50 years ago in 1967, but the changes can easily be seen within a smaller time frame. When Principal Sue Cassata started at East ten years ago, the student population was 93% European-American/White. Now that number has dropped to 85%, meaning that 15% of the students identify with a minority background.

A number of factors can be named to explain this growth in diversity.  The most dramatic change originates from the middle schools that feed East. Ten years ago,  students only came from Lux and Mickle. Now, East gets a handful of students from every school in the district.

Cassata notes that these changes within the school’s ethnic diversity affect other demographics, such as the number of students who are on free/reduced lunch.  Ten years ago, only 12% of East’s students had free or reduced lunch. Now, East has roughly 23-25% who report that need, and the number may actually be higher.

East has made substantial changes in response to the expanding range of cultural backgrounds. As a community, East has kept the use of exclusive language minimal, promoting more general terms that include everyone. “We are working to provide equal opportunities to all students by trying not to make assumptions,” said Cassata. The staff is working hard to better evaluate situations where parents and/or students feel threatened by a certain policy or arrangement within the school.

Students and teachers throughout the school have done many things to embrace different cultures, including after school activities in the form of clubs such as Asian club, Spanish club, German club, and French club. One such club that embodies the embracement of different cultures is the Chinese dance team, the Lunar Lotuses. This group was formed in 2016 as a six-person team, and this year they opened the group to the school by making announcements for new members. Now the team has doubled in size.

Team leader and choreographer, Angelina Nahorny, explained that the dance team was formed to bring light to a lesser-known art and to spread traditional Chinese dance. “I believe everyone deserves a place and the Lunar Lotuses is one of those places. This group adds another flavor to the school, which is important to spread the cultural aspect of the traditional Chinese dances. I hope that the community will enjoy our dances and that the name ‘Lunar Lotuses’ becomes known and popular throughout the city.”

The student body has changed significantly over the years and the diversity is only going to continue to grow. Cassata is thrilled to watch how the school evolves. “I hope the school continues to mirror the changes that occur in the Lincoln population in general. Personally, I think it’s exciting to learn and explore the lifestyles of people whose lives look totally different from mine. The variety of cultures and backgrounds within the school is a fascinating part of education because it prepares the students to live in a culturally diverse world, giving them a great skillset for entering the real world where people don’t always look like them.”

Angel Mai (12) and Emma Bilbo (10) show off their practice umbrellas while Chloe Weakly (10) displays her source of energy to dance: Sun chips. Photo by Sarah Logan

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A Community of Culture