Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What If

It’s not often I get to send you to a student newspaper. Thanks to a Twitter link, I read this article from Wingspan, the “Centennial High School daily online news source.”

High School Students to Participate in First Ever Howard County Student Exchange Day by Sasha Allen and Emily Hollwedel

On Wednesday, March 27, participating Wilde Lake students will travel to Glenelg, and Long Reach students will go to Centennial. On April 4, participating Glenelg students will go to Wilde Lake, and Centennial students will go to Long Reach. On the days of the exchanges, the students will attend classes until fifth period, where they will meet with school liaisons and debrief. 

It all started with an idea from Wilde Lake Student Rachel Henry. She looked at the many differences between her school and Glenelg, and wondered what it would be like to visit Glenelg for a day. The article outlines how she took her idea to school administration, reached out to Board Members, and how it grew to become an exchange between four different schools. 

The school system has been working a lot on what they call “amplifying student voice” in the last several years. This looks to be a good example of that. I hope that students involved will be able to candidly share their feedback once this exchange is over, and that student news publications will cover it.

You see, the seed that started all this was not a random thought of, “I wonder what kids at Glenelg are like?” Ms. Henry was looking at racial and financial disparities and thinking about issues like school segregation within HCPSS. So, while adults are maneuvering and posturing about redistricting, students are keenly aware of what the real deal is. 

What I want for students, including myself, is to stop thinking of pre-conceived notions about schools in our own county. I go to Glenelg on Wednesday, and to be completely honest, I’m 
terrified. Four boys got arrested there last year for racist and anti-semitic graffiti. Being mixed, and Jewish, those hate crimes directly pertained to me.

Former Wilde Lake principal James LeMon, now Executive Director Of Community, Parent, and School Outreach, is hoping this experience will give participating students some insight into how other students experience school in Howard County. I am, too.

I’m looking forward to hearing what they find out.

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