Understanding One Another

Academics, News, Rotator — By on April 11, 2018 12:44 pm

By Josh Jordan

Are we really that different? “Yes we are different because when you compare our background to theirs it is drastically different,” said senior Boe Brendes. Brendes was a part of the Social Justice J-Term class and went with his fellow students to meet students from Collins Academy High School. “We are similar because we all messed around and acted alike, but they have been exposed to a harsher environment than we have.”  Mount Vernon is a predominantly-Caucasian, small-town school in contrast to Collins Academy, with a predominantly African-American population in a large city. The trip was to help Mount Vernon students “…understand new people of different backgrounds and to make new friends,” said Social Justice teacher Leigh Ann Erickson.

Seniors Boe Brendes and Josh Jordan at the Shedd Aquarium with a student from Collins Academy on April 4th. Photo by Josh Jordan

Students who went on the trip arrived to a warm welcome by the other students. Then the students from both schools played some games, in order to get to know each other better. They played team building games such as captain, my captain and a scavenger hunt throughout the Shedd Aquarium. The first game was doing as the captain said, similar to Simon says, the difference is the people are doing actions in a group instead of individually. For the scavenger hunt, students were paired in groups of three to four, based on two students from each group. This resulted in students working together to try and beat everyone else as quickly as possible.

There were many fun parts to the trip. Senior Cassie Kaminsky said her favorite part of the trip was “getting to meet new people who live different lives but are similar to us.”

Junior Aiden Frantz said, “I enjoyed the aquarium the most because it brought back memories from when I went there previously.”

One of the sobering moments for the Mount Vernon kids on the differences between the schools was a memorial for the eight kids that had died this year from Collins Academy due to violence. This really made the experience “more realistic compared to our everyday lives for which gun violence is unheard of,” said Brendes.

One of the hopes on the trip was to get students to “have more compassion for others, and hopefully it will teach them something about themselves,” said Erickson. Students Frantz and Kaminsky both thought that the trip was worth it because it was an enjoyable trip with friends.

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