When Students are Empowered to Help Change the World

Every Monday and Wednesday mornings, all 550+ students, faculty, administration, and staff, enter our theater to participate in Morning Exercise, or better known on campus as Morning Ex. Historically, this was the headmaster’s class and when originated, calisthenics were part of this curriculum. Today, we are treated to presentations from teachers sharing their passions, to a class presentation, show previews, and occasionally an outside speaker.

Today’s Morning Ex was a powerful example of what can happen when students are empowered to change the world. We had several student led presentations about the situation in Darfur and then attendees were challenged to get involved. The presentation began with the reading the story of a young woman, Clemantine Wamariya, who attended the school two years ago as a freshman. Clementine was a Rwandan refuge whose story is quite powerful and moving. The story still brings tears to my eyes as I try to imagine what it would have been like to be uprooted, watching family and friends get killed. I cannot fathom it. Clemantine was featured on Oprah’s 50 Young People in May 2006, where she was reunited with her mother, father, and sister, and two brothers that she had not met, who Clemantine thought had died.

Three eighth graders then proceeded to inform us about the situation in Darfur, which is the service learning project that they chose at the beginning of the year by eighth grade teacher Natalie Sept. The presentation was shocking, moving, and powerful all at the same time. With the permission of Natalie, I am sharing the show, which you can download from SlideShare.net, to use.

[slideshare id=49350&doc=what-is-really-happening-north-shore-8th-grade-service-learning-project-6709&w=425]

At the end of the Morning Ex, both the eighth graders and Upper School students challenged us to get involved. This can be as simple as writing your congressman or participating in a fund raising event. Both our Middle School and Upper School students are holding t-shirt sales to raise monies, a group of freshman are hosting a 3 v 3 basketball tournament, and a group of Upper School students are hosting a benefit this Wednesday.

Today’s Morning Ex once again showed how thoughtful and powerful student’s voices can be when given a chance to speak.

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