Paramount, CA – “Pokémon Indigo League” played in the background as more than 30 students at Alondra Middle School practiced drawing manga sketches with step-by-step guides to help develop character design and to perfect lines, shading and coloring.

Alondra’s Anime Club provides a community space where group members meet weekly to discuss and watch favorite anime shows, learn Japanese vocabulary and explore Japanese customs.

The Anime Club hosted an animation creation contest on Jan. 30 to showcase student animated work and compete for two top prizes.

“Through the club, we can create a friend-group where everyone has a place to feel comfortable and share their passion,” said Alexia Duarte, an eighth-grader at Alondra and Anime Club president. “I’m really glad we have an official club because it’s a great way to hang out with friends and learn more about Japanese culture.”

The Anime Club – which kicked off last November – requires its students to have a minimum 2.0 grade point average. The club utilizes Schoology, a learning management system, which allows members access to upcoming agendas, the cultural tip of the week that expands on Japanese culture and Japanese language worksheets.

“We wanted to create a non-judgmental environment where students can share their interests and make friends,” said Ashley Goins, Anime Club adviser and a physical education teacher at Alondra. “Before we started the club, students didn’t realize how popular anime and manga are, and they were surprised to find a strong community.”

Goins, an avid anime fan, has traveled to Japan three times and each time returns with more knowledge to impart to her students.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded students to share their interests and learn from one another,” Paramount Unified Board President Vivian Hansen said.

Cosplay and art contests bring a friendly, competitive spirit to the club. Students are already preparing for a manga drawing contest at the end of March.

“At Paramount Unified, we encourage every learner to pursue their personal passions, and with this club students can celebrate their creativity and artistic ambition,” Paramount Unified Superintendent Dr. Ruth Perez said.


020818_PARAMOUNT_ANIME1: Alondra Middle School students discuss sketches during the school’s Anime Club which meets weekly to discuss anime shows and explore Japanese customs.

020818_PARAMOUNT_ANIME2: Alondra Middle School’s Anime Club kicked off last November and requires its students to have a minimum 2.0 grade point average.