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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

SASA brings enthusiasm and unity for second annual Darba celebration

Provided by Deepa Gautam
From left to right, sophomore co-treasurer Srisai Vuppuluri, senior co-treasurer Srinivas Sriram, junior co-secretary Deepa Gautam, SASA advisor Rashmi Kumar, seniors co-secretary Mysha Khan, vice president Mahi Yerabothu, president Tanvi Kodukulla, co-social media manager Saniya Purohit, and junior co-social media manager Iesha Patel.

The WA South Asian Student Association (SASA) will be hosting their second-ever annual Darba celebration on Friday, Nov. 17 from 6-10 p.m. Darba, an event that combines Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and garba dancing, will include refreshments and feature a variety of South Asian traditions, with tickets selling for $15 per WPS student and $20 for all others.

With the success of the Darba event last year, SASA has seen an increase in sign-ups for Darba this year. Many aspects of Darba that were popular among students will remain, like the glow in the dark theme, garba dancing with an instructor, and the Bollywood open dance floor at the end. There will also be a henna booth and board games for students who wish to play.

“I’m really excited to see how people react [to Darba],” senior and SASA president Tanvi Kodokulla said. “I loved hearing people telling us last year, ‘I loved Darba and I want to go back again’ which was really rewarding and it felt like what we did actually paid off.”

According to the SASA cabinet, students attending Darba are welcome to wear any colorful and festive clothing. In addition to the Darba event held on the 17th, SASA will also be hosting a South Asian dress-up day at school, where students get to vote for the best dressed participant.

For SASA, a main focus they had this year was trying to get as many new people involved in the event as possible, including those who are not part of the South Asian community. The SASA cabinet hopes to share their culture with those around them, and is encouraging all students to participate.

“We want everyone at WA to come to Darba, […] so we were really trying to work on getting non-South Asian students to come this year and making sure that they still feel engaged,” senior co-social media manager Saniya Purohit said. “[We want them to really] appreciate South Asian culture because it’s […] important to share [our culture] with other people.”

For students of South Asian heritage, SASA’s Darba celebration has been an outlet through which they can express their culture and blend traditions that they would normally do at home, in school. In this way, they have become more proud of who they are.

“For me, all of my cultural traditions were pretty removed from school, […] so being on the SASA cabinet brought together these two parts of me,” senior co-secretary Mysha Khan said. “[Being in SASA allowed me] to learn how to talk to people [about my culture] and see the similarities and differences across cultures in South Asia.”

This year, SASA created a sponsorship package with businesses Padma Sonti Homes, Enterprise Bank,  and Markel Group, in order to fund Darba and other club activities in the future. According to SASA advisor Rashmi Kumar, the idea for the sponsorships first came up after she presented to the Westford Rotary on the club’s role in DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion], when members of the Westford Rotary expressed an interest in promoting SASA.

“Last year, we were running on empty and shelling out our money, buying decorations, ordering food and giving deposits for all kinds of things,” Kumar said. “This year, we feel like we have a little bit of a cushion thanks to [the sponsorships], so we hope to put that money to good use and make this year’s Darba bigger and better than ever before.”

According to Kumar, the SASA cabinet has been very important in organizing Darba, and quick to learn a variety of skills that may help them in the future. Some of the tasks they have taken on include communicating with sponsors and promoting the event through video advertisements on the morning announcements and social media.

“I’m very impressed by their work ethic. I think each and every Cabinet member has worked really hard, and their enthusiasm, their talent, and their creativity [is amazing],” Kumar said.

In addition to the SASA cabinet, club members have also signed up to volunteer through committees, which specialize in a variety of tasks related to set-up and clean-up. Among these volunteers is senior SASA club member Natalie Strauss, who will be designing and painting henna on guests.

“It’s been so great to connect to other students and learn about how they celebrate the holiday,” Strauss said. “I’m also setting up a few designs for the henna so that has become part of my preparation for Darba. I’m trying to look up more classical symbols and styles to henna, so hopefully I can give a genuine experience to our guests.”

For the seniors on the SASA cabinet, hosting Darba this year is their last time organizing the event before graduating. Still, they plan to come back in the future, just like WA Alumni and past SASA cabinet member, Tanya Joshi, is this year.

“It’s definitely bittersweet because this is our last Darba with [my grade] planning it and there’s going to be new people next year,” Kodukulla said. “But, I will definitely come back for this because I want this to keep going.”

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About the Contributors
Elitsa Koleva, Managing Editor
Hello! My name is Elitsa and I am a junior. I enjoy reading and watching the news, plus I like to write, which are some of the reasons behind me taking Journalism. I like to swim, paint and read! 
Deepa Gautam, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name is Deepa and I am a junior Editor in Chief for the Ghostwriter! This is my third year on the paper and I joined because I love to read, write, and try new things. In my free time, I love watching movies, listening to music, trying new foods, and spending time with my family! :)

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