Persian Club increases the presence of Iranian Culture in the MVHS community

Students bond with each other through games involving Persian traditions and culture

Nowruz%2C+or+Iranian+New+Year+is+one+Persian+custom+that+Zamani+taught+Persian+Club+members+about

Zamani // Used with permission

Nowruz, or Iranian New Year is one Persian custom that Zamani taught Persian Club members about

Anushka De, News Editor

Every other Tuesday in Room B108, members of Persian Club gather around the projector screen to learn more about Persian culture. Sophomore and president of Persian Club, Nika Zamani prepares games and activities like “Persian Jeopardy” at each meeting to try and educate students.

Zamani started the club this year because she felt there was an underrepresentation of Iranian students at MVHS and to better educate her friends and the MVHS community about Persian customs and traditions after realizing how little most students knew.

I felt like a lot of cultures were represented at MVHS, but there was no representation of anything Persian previously.”

— Nika Zamani

“I felt like a lot of cultures were represented at MVHS, but there was no representation of anything Persian previously,” Zamani said. “There are a surprisingly large number of Persians in the Bay Area, and yet, you don’t see much representation in schools or in the community.”

Sophomore Claire Schie initially joined the club because she was friends with Zamani and wanted to support her. Before the meetings, Schie knew nothing about Persian culture, but Zamani’s planned activities have helped Schie learn about a country and culture that she feels she may have never learned about otherwise.

“I realized that [Persian Club] was a club where we learn about the culture, and it was way more fun that I thought it was going to be,” Schie said. “We learn a lot about the culture, but also, at every meeting, we get to try a new type of food. It’s a really unique experience because I eat the same thing for dinner every day, and so it’s cool to branch out and try new things.”

Junior Parssa Alimamad joined the club since he was interested in surrounding himself with the familiarity of Persian culture. Alimamad has not visited Iran in over 10 years and has come to consider Persian club a “second home.”

As an Iranian, one of the most important goals of my life is to preserve my culture and heritage.”

— Parssa Alimamad

“As an Iranian, one of the most important goals of my life is to preserve my culture and heritage,” Alimamad said. “I would always want to be in an atmosphere where I am able to experience [my culture] firsthand, without really needing to go back to Iran. It’s just a responsibility I’ve given myself.”

One of the biggest challenges Zamani faces is finding a way to create activities that will interest both people like Schie, who have no previous knowledge of Persian culture and members like Alimamad, who grew up surrounded by it.

“Finding that balance between where Persian people can relate and have fun while non Persians are learning something that’s not super bizarre has definitely taught me a lot about how to appeal to an audience,” Zamani said.

One of Zamani’s main goals through her meetings is to show students a perspective of Persian people and culture that differs from what is often portrayed by the media. As an Iranian student himself, Alimamad appreciates how Persian Club has helped non-Persian members combat a lot of the radical views about Persians that are often promoted by the media. He feels that culture clubs such as Persian clubs are important because they allow people to see it from a different perspective. She hopes to bring each member closer to viewing Persians as a group of hospitable people with rich traditions. 

There’s lots of misrepresentation in that area and it’s just important to know that behind everything you see on the news and [Iran’s] government and all that, there are some really fun people and amazing culture to be celebrated.”

— Nika Zamani

“I want [members] to think of Persian people as good, fun people just because you don’t see much of that in the media,” Zamani said. “There’s lots of misrepresentation in that area and it’s just important to know that behind everything you see on the news and [Iran’s] government and all that, there are some really fun people and amazing culture to be celebrated.”

Zamani feels that starting the club and having the opportunity to teach others about her heritage has been an overwhelmingly rewarding experience for her. She encourages others to do the same regarding issues that are important to them.

“If you really, really want to do something and you’re really passionate about something, it doesn’t matter how many people come,” Zamani said. “There will always be those people there who genuinely want to learn and that’s amazing.”  Zamani creates presentations like this one to teach members about Persian culture

Presentation by Zamani // Used with permission