Dixon High student starts World Culture Club - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Dixon High student starts World Culture Club

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 10:30 am

World culture and the United States armed services are intrinsically linked, and Camp Lejeune’s surrounding area is no different. With visiting dignitaries, various relocations and permanent changes of stations, Onslow County has become a veritable melting pot of cultures — both foreign and domestic. That’s why a Dixon High School junior and her friends are starting a club that focuses on inclusivity and education.

Payton Jeffers is spearheading the World Culture Club. The club members, who had their first official meeting Feb. 15, are aiming to learn about and appreciate other cultures in the world.Jeffers is the daughter of a retired Marine. She said that played a role in her love of other cultures, especially Asian cultures. Jeffers’ father, retired master sergeant Jeff Jeffers was transferred to Okinawa when she was just 6 months old, and the family lived there until she was 5.

“Moving to Okinawa was a completely different thing. Right now, I’m studying Chinese and that’s something new,” Jeffers said. “Seeing that, to me, I learned to respect other cultures since they might not be the same as me. I learned it’s important to not judge.”

She decided to start the club to help people learn about their passions in a more concrete environment at Dixon High.

“I realized that, here at Dixon, not everybody is connected,” Jeffers said. “I know that some of my friends wanted to learn about different cultures, but there was never really a club or a time that we could come together. Me and my mom... came up with the ideo of starting a club that everybody regardless of gender, ethnicity or culture can come together and have a good time and learn about different languages and music.”

Having a worldwide perspective is important for Jeffers.

“I would like for people at Dixon to know it’s not just this little town,” she said. “I know a lot of my friends, especially ones who have grown up here, want to stay in this area, but I want to teach people that there’s more than just here in North Carolina. There’s other places.”

Of course, having traveled across some of the country during her father’s days in the service, Jeffers knows that world culture also applies to American culture. She has spent time in Virginia as well as some brief hopping to Hawaii and Georgia.

“World culture also applies to the United States, and I want to show them [students] that it’s OK to be curious and learn different things. No one should judge you if you want to learn,” she said.

The process of getting the club started has been a success thus far. Jeffers’ club mentor is Jeff Lovingood, a former U.S. Army ranger and English teacher at Dixon. According to Jeffers, Principal Steve Clark is also on board.

The club is open to all students at Dixon High. In addition to flyers and posters she has made with her friends, she is considering starting a social media platform to promote events and ideas.

“It’s open to anybody who wants to join,” said Jeffers. “The only thing with this club is that you have to be respectful. There’s no judgment at all, have fun and be curious. There’s no problem with asking questions.”

Jeffers said that if she could visit any country, it would be South Korea. She is a big fan of the music and the food.

“I hear it [the food] is really spicy. I want to try it so bad,” Jeffers said. “I also hear they have really nice parks.”

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