Culture Club allows students to make new friends

Amal Ghanem, Staff Writer

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Clubs throughout Sandburg are considered reasonably varied. Culture Connections is a club that celebrates diversity and embraces it through the trips they take, the holidays recognized, and the times shared together. The club is run by ELL teacher at Carl Sandburg High School, Mr. Habboub. The main idea behind the creation of the club was to expose ELL students to all of the different cultural norms that America has to offer.
The club allows students to connect with each other through common interests, as well as new ones that they share together. With the club having over 20 participants there is plenty of room for club members to make new friends and form new bonds.

Although the initial intention of the club was to allow ELL students to explore their boundaries and connect on new social levels, the results have evolved somewhat.

“We went from being a social club that focused on building friendships and celebrating cultural differences to a club that also wants to do more for the community. We’ve developed a few goals to work together to better our community and the world around us,” said Habboub.

The club plans on making a difference in society through the work it plans on doing starting within the upcoming semester.

A language barrier has never stopped students from interacting and connecting with each other from within the club.

The club has broken boundaries between different cultures, and has elaborated on the misconceptions that some individuals may have had on certain groups of people.

“It always makes me so happy to see students interacting with each other outside of club meetings, especially students that you’d never think would ever become friends because of the language barrier,” said Habboub.

ELL students tend to gravitate towards joining Habboub’s club because they usually are his students during school hours as well. Although this is true, Mr. Habboub’s club is only a gateway that allows students to get out of their comfort zones and try new clubs.

“I think the most beneficial thing that the club has done for students has been getting students to become more involved with what Carl Sandburg has to offer outside of the classroom. Some students are joining a club for the first time and stepping outside of their comfort zone to do so, which is great motivation for them to join other clubs and sports that appeal to their interests,” said Habboub. The club has also planned on trying to reach out and connect with Service Club to literally further their connections with other clubs at Carl Sandburg.

Students that participate in the club also get to partake in events that take them out of their traditional way of thinking in order to show them that cultures differ here in America, as well as from within people individually. “I wanted to meet new people with different cultures and see what it was like in a different perspective,” said Samantha Abdelhadi, a frequent participant in what the club has had to offer in the past 2 years.

The club tries to expose students to as many religious and cultural holidays as possible in order to expose the ELL student’s to the norms that have been formed throughout America in the previous years in history. “I love the holiday events we celebrate. First semester is packed full of holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It’s a great chance for us to bond by celebrating with food, music, games, and movies,” said Habboub.

Although most students at Sandburg may not know about Culture Connections, they interact with individuals that have experienced results that came about from the club itself. Students are more likely to connect to people of different backgrounds and cultures due to the exposure of experiences they deal with in the club. Overall, the club is essential to the success of ELL student’s experience with connecting to America’s “norms.”

A lot of times clubs here at Sandburg go unnoticed and unvisited, but culture connections should not be one that falls into that category, this club has successfully brought student’s out of their shells and formed who they are today through the unbreakable bonds that are formed and the great experiences to exposure that they are put through. Trips are taken, food is usually served, and good memories are always made.

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