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API Spotlight - Riyo Y. ’26

Riyo '26

 

Riyo Y. ’26 has found opportunities to embrace her heritage through various classes and student groups at Carondelet. Currently, she is involved in student council, Student Investment Club, and Pre-Med Club. “From leadership opportunities to the classes that I have had, I have been able to discover cultural similarities with classmates,” says Riyo. “Simple connections of eating dishes like adobo at home to loving Jollibee has resulted in starting lovely friendships at Carondelet and pride for my API background.”

“At a young age, my heritage has been a huge influence in my identity at school and at home,” shares Riyo. “My background is that I am half Japanese, a quarter Chinese, and a quarter Filipino. My mother came to America when she was six years old and grew up in a traditional Filipino household, while my dad was born in America and his father immigrated from Japan to America. My family history has inspired me to be hardworking and independent, just like my mom’s mother and my dad’s father. They worked hard to create a better life for the family while embracing their culture.”

Family and history are huge components in API culture. “At a young age, I would visit my Japanese grandmother over the weekend to spend time together while also learning about my heritage and family history,” Riyo says. “I recall her telling me stories about my grandfather immigrating from Japan after WWII and about the hardships he faced moving to America. I learned more about my Japanese heritage by making food with my grandmother, such as sukiyaki, and watching anime and My Neighbor Totoro, a popular animated movie by famous Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.”

A moment this year that Riyo has found memorable was during Carondelet’s Cultural Festival. “The API Club performed the Filipino dance ‘Tinikling’ and they taught other students how to join in,” says Riyo. “This traditional dance being showcased for my peers to witness brought me pure pride that my Filipino culture was being shared on campus.”

“The diverse community at Carondelet has helped me to be conscientious of the wide array of traditions within the Asian Pacific Islander culture,” says Riyo. “I have been able to contribute to our school community by just speaking with my classmates and providing insight into my own culture and upbringing.”

“My family and our history motivates me to be hardworking and independent,” shares Riyo. “My family are some of my biggest role models and they inspire me to work hard for what I want out of life while simultaneously passing on the traditions of our culture. I aspire to be just like them.”

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