Rooting for Culture


Allen High School is arguably one of the most diverse high schools in North Texas. Students from all over the world live in Allen, whether they be a foreign exchange student, newly permanent resident, or just someone who has lived here for a while. As a result, everyone with a distinct culture fights a battle between maintaining their cultural roots and assimilating into a Western society. 

“At the beginning, I feel like for a lot of people, who in their household it’s all they’ve grown up with, [they] kind of want to push it away, ” senior Ange Taguimdjeu said. “[It’s] something you want to lock at home and then at school you’re like a different person.”


Taguimdjeu moved to the United States at 7 years old, and it wasn’t until her freshman year that she began to branch out and start immersing herself specifically in her Cameroonian culture. 


“There are some people who don’t understand your culture,” senior Vaishnavi Susarla said.


After moving to the U.S. at age 4, Susarla experiences the internal fight of blending with her peers but also keeping her South Indian identity. She’s dealt with the constant struggle of interacting with people who aren’t as culturally conscious.


“Anywhere in America, I think you can find your group of people,” said Susarla.


Both Taguimdjeu and Susarla have managed to find communities within the school that allows them to express themselves and embrace their heritage.


“ASO [African Student Organization] has started again,” Taguimdjeu said. “that’s been a big thing to have to be able to be around other people that understand your struggles.”


Taguimdjeu is grateful for the community she has discovered through ASO.


“We can compare notes, grow together, grow to make our cultures less toxic, and teach people that it’s beautiful to be different,” said Taguimdjeu.


Susarla has found classical Indian dance as a way to connect.


“I’ve found dance, Bharatanatyam, so that allows me to connect to my heritage,” said Susarla.


There are differences between Susarla and Taguimdjeu’s cultures, but both agree that their heritage is important to who they are and how they live their lives.

“It’s something that everyone can see and everyone can appreciate. I’m just very thankful that we have it,” said Taguimdjeu.

Taguimdjeu’s bracelets