YES Prep Public Schools
Samantha Ramirez

On Saturday, May 13, 2023, YES Prep staff and students gathered for the annual APIA Summit. This year, summit leads Jeevan Moses, director of college counseling with YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary; Jennifer Reyes, director of school operations; and Stephanie Gounder, managing director of teacher development, decided to do something that had never been done before at a student affinity summit. Instead of celebrating the summit at a campus, the APIA Summit went on the road! This year’s theme was “All Things APIA Houston” and students and staff were able to experience Houston's APIA culture like never before through a city-wide tour of significant sites in the Houston APIA community.

All things APIA Houston tours

The summit welcomed students at YES Prep Gulfton Secondary with a light breakfast, swag and a performance by the YES Prep Brays Oaks Secondary BOLD Squad. Afterwards, students headed out on the tour they selected when registering for the summit: the South Asian tour of Houston or the East Asian tour of Houston.

South Asian tour of Houston

The South Asian tour of Houston kicked off at the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a place of worship and prayer for followers of Hinduism. Students toured the temple and asked questions about the Hindu faith. After the tour, students had the chance to purchase a memento from their visit to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Students and staff then headed to Houston’s Mahatma Gandhi District or as you may know it, Hillcroft Avenue, for lunch at the Biryani Factory!

For some students, this was the first time they had ever eaten at an Indian restaurant and tried Indian food. After lunch, students visited and explored the Sari Sansar Shops, a shopping center filled with various shops and boutiques.

East Asian tour of Houston

The East Asian tour of Houston kicked off in Houston’s Asiatown at Teo Chew Temple, a Chinese Buddhist temple that’s dedicated to 14 Buddhist gods. Tour guides gave students and chaperones an overview of the temple, the meaning behind the statues and information on how people practice the Buddhist faith. After spending time at the temple, students hopped back on the buses and headed to Ocean Palace, the largest dim sum restaurant in Houston! When they arrived, they were greeted by the owner and served more than 10 different types of dim sum!

After a very delicious and filling lunch, they walked over to the Hong Kong City Mall and took a tour of the market. After a brief tour, students were able to make purchases of their own before heading back to Gulfton Secondary and rejoining the students from the South Asian tour.

This summit was the first of its kind and one to remember! As always, thanks to our summit leads Jeevan, Jennifer and Stephanie for all their work in organizing and presenting this year’s 2023 APIA Summit. And a special thank you to our 2023 Student Affinity Summit corporate supporter Enbridge.

To view a gallery photos, click here.

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