This celebration for Grade 5 recognizes student achievements and marks the transition from Lower to Middle School.
In honor of AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, several members of the Middle School's Asian Affinity Group recently gathered to brainstorm ways to demonstrate their cultural pride.
With the help of Asian Affinity Group advisors Yifan Xu and Audrey Enriquez, and South Asian Affinity Group advisors Uma Aviles P '31 and Anu Menon P '26, it didn't take long for them to settle on an idea: A video that features over 41 community members—six Middle and Upper School faculty as well as 35 Middle School students—sharing their heritage by speaking the words, "I'm a proud. . ."
The creators—JingJing Luo '25, TingTing Luo '26, Hannah Diao '26, Emily Atienza '27, Jasmine Zhou '27, and Chloe Huang '26—made announcements about their project during Morning Meetings and arranged the recording sessions. JingJing edited the final video, which illustrates the richness of the AAPI community at Pingry, including Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, Filipino Americans, Korean Americans, and more.
"I joined the Asian Affinity Group and was eager to record this video because of the recent AAPI hate crimes," shares JingJing. "I felt more motivated to spread the word, and help other AAPI students speak up. In addition to standing up against hate crimes, we need the confidence to express ourselves as well."
The final video—which will be complemented by an Upper School video currently in the works—was shown at a recent Middle School Morning Meeting. "Ms. Xu and I simply fanned the flames," explains Ms. Enriquez. "These amazing Chinese-, Filipino-, and Taiwanese-American girls brainstormed this brilliant initiative to show the Pingry community just how proud they are to be who they really are."
Below, the video, as well as remarks from five of the six creators about why this project was so meaningful to them.
JingJing Luo '25
"In Asian Affinity Group, we brainstormed many ideas and this idea of creating an "I am Proud" video stood out to every one of us, so we went ahead and did it. As I was going around, asking AAPI students to record for the video, I realized that saying "I am proud to be an Asian American" can sometimes be cheesy, or awkward to say. However, in the end, everyone agreed to do it. This is really something to be happy about. . . Some of my friends who already recorded for the video, such as Elbert Ho '25, also helped find other people to record. For the editing process, I tried to put people with different backgrounds next to each other in order to show the diversity of Pingry's AAPI community. It is all thanks to everyone's hard work, especially the Middle School Asian Affinity Group, that we were able to put this together."
TingTing Luo '26
"This project was really powerful to me because it showed me how proud many AAPI students and faculty are to be Asian, just like me. . . I only got two people to record the first day, but as time went on, more and more people agreed to be filmed. Some people who already filmed even came up to me and asked if they could help. That was really exciting to me because I realized that our AAPI community was very enthusiastic about this idea. This project gives me more hope that we will get through these hard times together. It showed me how powerful our AAPI community at Pingry is."
Hannah Diao '26
"This project helped me realize that many Asians and Asian Americans at Pingry are proud of their race. That gave me more confidence to help with AAPI month and make announcements to the whole Middle School. We are all in this together."
Emily Atienza '27
"I am very proud of this video. I am one of the only Filipinos in school and it is not often that I can represent my culture publicly. So this was a very amazing opportunity for me. It is so heartwarming seeing all my fellow AAPI peers get together and share a big part of us to Pingry. I was very excited when the video was played during Morning Meeting, and I truly felt lots of pride."
Jasmine Zhou '27
"This video showed to me just how many people were a part of the AAPI community, and it made me feel comfortable knowing that there were a lot of people by my side. It made me have a sense of belonging, and I was really proud of everyone who stepped up and was a part of the video. They were introducing their culture and race to the school while being proud of it, which I think is something that everyone can be able to do."
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org