The Clintonville High School will once again be holding a “Diversity Day” celebration this year, which is scheduled for Monday, March 27.
It will be the second year of the event, which has the goal of not pushing political, social, or religious agendas, but rather to give students the opportunity to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”
Inspired by a similar event held at Seymour High School, a handful of Student Council members of Clintonville took initiative and invited upwards of 40 speakers last year to share their stories with students.
“We would justify the inclusion of a speaker, as long as it would give students the chance to walk in the shoes of someone who they typically don’t get to hear from, or talk to, or ask questions to,” said Kevin Reese, an advisor for the event. “It wasn’t just cultural, it wasn’t just ethnical, it wasn’t just religious. We didn’t want kids to feel like you have to be exposed to this. We wanted to give them choices of what they could go to.”
The day allows various speakers to share their own experiences, history, or challenges that they face every day as a minority.
Although Reese says putting on the event requires a lot of planning and organization, because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from its inaugural year, they’ve decided to do it again.
“We don’t want it to lose its effect,” said Reese about the event. “If [the students] see it every year, will it be less effective? The overwhelming response from staff and students alike was no, do it.”
Last year’s day competed with bad weather, as well as some spring break trips that other groups in the school were taking. Reese adds when those students heard about the day from others, they asked if it could be put on again this year.
The success of the first year has had other schools inquire about how the event is put on, like the Shawano School District, who Reese says will have observers in attendance for this year.
While the goal isn’t to stir up controversy, there were a few parents last year who had concerns of what the school was trying to push on students. Reese explains, however, that once those parents were informed of the event’s actual goal, concerns died down considerably and there haven’t been any leading up to this year.
“None of the speaker’s mission is to convert or recruit,” Reese stated. “Their mission is just to share their story and realize what a day in the life is for them. Students can learn a little bit more about people they might not come in contact with in their daily life.”
With the number of speakers expected to attend, there will be no shortage of diverse topics for students to learn more about, in what is expected to be another successful and unique event at the high school.