AAPI Student Spotlight

Mia Roldan

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Month. AAPI month focuses on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander heritage and experiences. This month we recognize the culture, history, and accomplishments of these groups. 

According to Niche, 1% of students are Asian, and 0.2% are Pacific Islanders here in Cleveland. While the AAPI population is small, we interviewed a few students about their experiences.

Jiale Wu

Jiale Wu

Jiale is a senior at Cleveland, he enjoys being a part of the Library Club and ran for Mr. Cleveland this past pageant. He’s Chinese, “one of like three in this school, so I’m pretty exotic. I’m pretty unique, hit me up,” he says.  He describes his experience being AAPI in Cleveland as “pretty normal. I’m among the white people, we’re just normal. Besides the racist jokes, I think I’m pretty normal.”

David Bernardino

David Bernardino

David is a freshman here at Cleveland. He likes to “sing in the choir, and I like art and music.” He is a part of the few Filipinos at Cleveland and says that being AAPI at Cleveland is “fun, actually. There’s only five of them here.” (This is where we mention that David was referring to Filipino people, not all AAPI people). 

From left: Jirahgon Voyles, John Salapantan, Marc Salapantan, Jeremy Luz.

Jirahgon Voyles

Jirahgon, also known as Jay, is a junior student at Cleveland, she enjoys dancing and the Yarn Club! Jay is half white and half Thai. She says that she enjoys “being different than other people, it feels more inclusive in a small group. Usually, we Asians stand together. I like that.”

John Salapantan

John is a senior at Cleveland, he’s the President of the Library Club and enjoys studying the STEM field. He’s another Filipino, and he says that he “feels connected to the rest of the students. I don’t really feel much of a difference.”

Marc Salapantan

Marc is a sophomore, and also Filipino! He was a part of Cleveland’s tennis team and enjoys playing video games and basketball. When asked about his AAPI experience he said, “I mean, it’s cool.” 

Jeremy Luz

Jeremy is a senior at Cleveland. He acts as the founder and President of the Drone Club. Jeremy is 25% Filipino, 25% white, and 50% Vietnamese, he says he’s “a little bit of a cocktail” and that he likes being AAPI at Cleveland, “I feel special.”