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MISA Sways the Year Away

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MISA Sways the Year Away

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    Have you ever watched the Disney movies, Lilo and Stitch and or Moana?

    These movies captured and created an interest in Pacific Islander culture the same way Morse Islander Student Alliance, MISA, does.

    MISA experienced a rebirth of their club during the 2018-2019 school year when approximately 20 underclassmen joined the club, performed at new events, and learned numerous new dances from a variety of Polynesian cultures.

    As of 2017, MISA suffered a major loss when all the cabinet members graduated. Since then, regaining the control and glory of the club was difficult for the members and their advisor.

    The 2017-2018 school year went through obstacles such as leadership and commitment. However, with the 2018-2019 school year those obstacles were resolved. Not only that, the club blossomed and had new opportunities to showcase their skill and appreciation for the culture.

    One event in particular that stood out the most for its members was the Dance for A Cure event held at Otay Ranch High School where numerous dance teams and performers demonstrated their talents and skill over a two day course.

    “This was one of the greatest performances we’ve had this year,” said Celeen Santos, co-captain of MISA. “Dancing to help with cancer research added to the meaning of that performance.”

    Other performances by MISA this year include the Sweetwater Union High School Cultural Rally, their first major performance of the school year. Most of the club consisted of first-year members so it was their first time performing.

    “The audience was cheering us on,” said freshman Abigail Vicencio. “My nervousness went away and I was really happy.”

    On a different note, the club for two years did not have a male presence. However, that changed this school year. Previous male members returned this year and are bringing back the male aspects of the culture they chose to appreciate and share.

    Speaking about the culture they chose to embrace, it is known amongst the school community that the club has had its share of critics who named the club to be appropriating Polynesian culture. Nevertheless, club members continued to show their love for the culture and remain in the club

    “Knowing that, I stayed,” said sophomore Erika Sae. “All I saw were open arms and people who were happy to be here.”

    This school year the club did not get those critics and they continued to grow and prosper.

   “We did not feel that hate this year and I am hoping more people will continue to join our ohana (family),” said Nani Schott, advisor of MISA.

   Our school’s Polynesian club also bonded with each other more this year. Because of this, MISA has had its fair share of parties where the members really got to know each other.

    “We really got to know each other on all sorts of levels,” said freshman Alana Casas. “Bonding with MISA is really and will always be memorable.”

   Some of these events include their annual Christmas party, eating at buffets after performances, and bonding at public events like the PH Night Market.

    “One of my favorite and most memorable times spent with the girls was the Christmas party,” said Odyssey Bustos, chieftess of the club. “We walked around the neighborhood and went Christmas caroling.”

    The club this year also got help from other Polynesian organizations outside of school. One of the members, Angelina Borja, has an aunt who has been teaching the girls several dances. She also lends instruments and props to MISA when need be rather than spending thousands of dollars themselves.

   “Ever since my shoulder injury I haven’t been able to teach the girls,” said Schott. “It really helps us to have lessons from Angelina’s aunt.”

   MISA also has affected its members internally.

    “MISA made my life better. Being in the club increased my self-confidence, helped with my social skills, and taught me leadership skills,” said Santos.

   Members who have left Morse High School continue to be active participants from the club.

    “I still wanted to learn the dances and still wanted to commit,” said former student Rhoda Robles. “I still feel connected to the girls since they’re my family.”

    MISA wishes to continue growing their club.

    “Joining the club does not mean you have to dance,” explained Schott. “We want to explore new ways of spreading the culture such as its language, literature, and traditions.”

About the Writer
Anne Ellaine Santos, Staff Writer






"I'm going to stand outside, if anyone asks, I'm outstanding."







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