C.A.S.A makes an entrance for the 2022-2023 school year

An opportunity for IKE’s Chaldeans to connect and for all students to learn about the Chaldean culture

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As a way to begin C.A.S.A’s (Chaldean American Student Association) practice meeting to head start the 2022-2023 school year, President and Vice president, sophomores Mekhi Kattula (left) and Angelina Elias (right) present a powerpoint which explains what the club is and what future activities will be held as an introduction for all members. “I personally like CASA because it involves my culture into an area that hasn’t been as diverse,” member and sophomore Alvero Kryakoos said. “It’s kind of expanding.”

Raiha Khan, Staff Writer

As a way to connect with those like themselves, but a chance to learn for all; C.A.S.A (Chaldean American Student Association), has a practice meeting on Friday, June 3rd.

“I’m hoping that they [members] get to experience more of the culture and understand deeply about what it is,” sophomore club president Mekhi Kattula said. “By joining, Chaldean students can be around people who are from the same culture and it gives those who aren’t Chaldean, a chance to learn about it as well as a warm welcome to what our culture entails, creating a fun environment.”

Stemming from the Chaldean Federation International which advocates for preservation of Chaldean rights, language, ancient culture, history and traditions since the 1980’s, the Chaldean-American Student Association is a non-profit organization established to unite all Chaldeans and students of Arab descent. The club’s main purpose is to assist students in furthering their education as well as maintaining a positive representation of the Chaldean community.

“I didn’t know it was a thing until the end of my sophomore year,” sophomore Cameron Babbie said. “So, when I heard about it, I’m like ‘Oh, I’m Chaldean. There’s a club. Why not.’”

With its first meeting taking place on June 3rd, C.A.S.A, which stands for the Chaldean American Student Association, is run by Chaldean student leaders for all, to celebrate its culture and customs, being one of the only school clubs focused on the diversity of the student body.

“I wanted to join C.A.S.A because my friend is Chaldean, so I want to be an ally by learning more about the culture,” sophomore Madi Belisle said. “ And, I’m excited to hang out with everyone because we all seem so fun.”

Chaldean people all over the world are the indigenous people of modern day Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, and part of Turkey. and speak the Chaldean language, one of the oldest, continuously spoken languages in the world. Foods such as the Baklava sweet, grape leaves and Bacha which is a traditional Iraqi dish made from sheep boiled slowly and served with break sunken into broth or Maqluba which is made out of meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot that is then flipped upside down when served, are favorites in the Chaldean culture.

“My favorite part of our culture are the special weddings and the little traditions that go along with them,” Kattula said.

In terms of music, the Middle East is recognized mainly for three instruments, the Oud, Iraqi Santur and Joza. Popular songs from this region include: “Goumi” the Arabic version by Myrium Fares, as well as “Basbousa.”

At the local level, students can sign up for C.A.S.A through the Signupgenius link in their school email if interested. Plans for one virtual C.A.S.A meeting over the Summer in addition to monthly and biweekly meetings in the upcoming year will be routine. The club plans to have a food day and fundraisers in the near future. Students can follow Kattula on his instagram: mekhikattula or be on the lookout for an upcoming C.A.S.A IKE Instagram page for latest C.A.S.A club updates. 

“I wanted to join C.A.S.A and be the president to contribute to cultural influences because we have so many in our school,” Kattula said. “So, I feel like it’d be a great place for all of us to come together.”