SASA marks end of incredible first year with banquet


Elitsa Koleva

On the top, left to right, SASA advisor Rashmi Kumar, freshman Srisai Vuppuluri, sophomores Deepa Gautam and Iesha Patel, juniors Tanvi Kodukulla and Mahi Yerabothu, senior Tanya Joshi and junior Srinivas Sriram pose for a picture. From the bottom, left to right, juniors Mysha Khan and Saniya Purohit.

Elitsa Koleva, Co-Managing Editor

The South Asian Student Association (SASA) held a banquet to mark the end of their first year as a club from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24. They chose three new cabinet members; sophomore Iesha Patel as co-social media manager, sophomore Deepa Gautam as co-secretary and freshman Srisai Vuppuluri as co-treasurer.

In addition to the newly chosen members, the old cabinet will be returning for the next year, including juniors Tanvi Kodukulla as president, Mahi Yerabothu as vice president, Mysha Khan as co-secretary, Srinivas Sriram as co-treasurer, and Saniya Purohit as co-social media manager. The cabinet also said goodbye to graduating senior Tanya Joshi who served as social media manager for the year 2022-23.

“I have to say that SASA was one of the most incredible communities I’ve ever gotten to be a part of and it made the last year really memorable,” Joshi said. “Being a part of the beginning of SASA was an amazing journey and I really feel like all of us made a difference.”

During the banquet, community members celebrated the end of the year with South Asian food and chai. Cabinet members and SASA club advisor Rashmi Kumar also gave speeches, commemorating the occasion.

“I could have never thought this is where we would be at the end of one school year,” Kumar said. “I have a lot of people I would like to thank, [including Dean Betsy] Murphy […] and thank you to my SASA cabinet. As I’ve said many, many times before, I truly lucked out with these folks.”

According to Kodukulla, although SASA was founded just a year ago, the club has grown more than they ever anticipated. What started out as an idea at the beginning of the school year turned into something much bigger once the club began throwing bigger celebrations.

“When Mrs. Kumar first put up the idea to me at the end of my sophomore year, I really didn’t think we could accomplish this much in a year,” Kodukulla said. “I thought maybe when we’d start the club, we’d have a little Diwali dress-up day, but we’ve come so far in just a short amount of time.”

According to Purohit, SASA’s biggest accomplishment has been the cultural appreciation and empathy they were able to promote this past year. Some of the club’s most memorable events include Darba, a Diwali celebration, as well as their roundtable discussions during club meetings, when members came together to highlight issues related to the South Asian community.

“I’m just so glad to be a part of an organization like this at my school because it was not something I had in middle school,” Purohit said. “I’m just really glad to share my culture and celebrate these festivals that I celebrated growing up.”

Looking ahead, the new cabinet members expressed excitement at the prospect of continuing to work with SASA. According to Patel, one thing she aims to do next year is encourage more students to join the club.

“I definitely plan on using social media a lot more in marketing […] and [using] multiple social media accounts like Tik Tok and Instagram,” Patel said. “But also, talking to kids in-person so they can learn more about it because it’s important to create a personal connection.”

Although Joshi is graduating this year, she believes that the club will be in good hands and feels proud of the progress she was able to make with the cabinet this year.

“As sad as I am to go, I’m happy knowing that SASA is going to be one of the best hits ever with the best cabinet I’ve ever worked with,” Joshi said. “I hope SASA’s future is even more successful and I hope many more students find SASA the great community that I found it to be.”

The club’s last meeting this year will be after school on Wednesday, June 7. Check out the club’s instagram @westfordacademysasa and join the SASA Google Classroom via code t3jtbyn.