Family: a myriad of meanings

Students are part of different kinds of families, from friend groups to sport teams

By Ritaja Subrahmanya

Human beings need connection. The connections formed from friendships and community often evolve into something else: a family. However, a family can be so much more than the traditional definition. 

“Family is a group of people that live with you in your heart,” freshman Leslie Gray said. “Even when family moves away, or you move away, you always have a special bond with them beyond shared ancestors or experiences.”

Similarly, junior Victoria Lee said she has a reliable, supportive family in her secondary school in Hong Kong. Last month, when a girl from her class jumped in front of a train, the entire school came together to pray and support each other, she said. Lee’s mother, an alumni of the school, and her friends also came to pray for the girl. 

“You don’t need to know the person,” Lee said. “But we will be there to support each other because they’re part of the family.”

Years of friendship and a close connection can also evolve into family. Freshman Elise Vambenepe said she found family in her friends whom she has known since sixth grade. 

“[We talk about] basically anything. We laugh and share worries,” Vambenepe said. “Sometimes, I feel closer to my other ‘families’ than I do to my biological one.” 

Family can be found in sports, as well. Junior Kaushal Raghu has been on the HHS badminton team since his freshman year. Through games and practices, he said, the team has evolved into a family. 

“We all share a love for badminton,” Raghu said. “That love for the sport brings us all together.”

You don’t need to know the person. But we will be there to support each other because they’re part of the family.”

— Junior Victoria Lee

From sports teams to friend groups, there are so many different families on campus. In fact, we are all ultimately part of a bigger family: the HHS family. There are many ways to help strengthen the bonds in our school family. 

“Having a yearly tradition will help bring the community together,” Lee said. “It brings people together and makes people feel [like they] belong.” 

However, to create this sense of belonging, Raghu said events on campus should be more inclusive. 

“There are a lot of people who don’t feel included in their grade level,” Raghu said. “We have to do something to get them more involved.”

In the end, everyone needs family. However, family isn’t always blood related it can be something else entirely.

“It feels good to belong somewhere [and] to have people who care about you,” Lee said. “It’s just lots of love.”