Six MHS students -- Malaika Maka, Sophie Boorstein, Tyree Eady, Parker Sigmon, Jesus Quechol and Kat Perez-Wilson -- updated the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 9 on their outreach efforts at the school along with their reflections on attending the Minority Student Achievement Network annual conference in Chapel Hill, N.C. last fall.
"I am just so proud of you and the work you are doing,'' Superintendent George Mavroulis said. "Our core values are inclusive, innovative and inspiring and you epitomize those words. You live engagement every day. I thank you for moving us forward. Your legacy will live on after you graduate.''
The students shared how they developed a better understanding about how racial disparities are prevalent in many schools across the country. They also said they obtained ideas at the conference about how to address equity issues in the District. Students from nine states were represented at the conference.
"Meeting and working with students from across the country was inspirational,'' Quechol said.
Boorstein said the students have developed four steps -- captains' table discussions, mentoring program, advisory program and the Walk with Me Side by Side to End Racism -- to impact the culture at MHS and in the area. Maka said they spoke with MHS captains about race and inclusion and discussed how micro-aggressions have a lasting impact.
Student Voice Union, along with representatives from Latinos Unidos and the Black Student Union, have met monthly with all freshmen during advisory to train and teach students about respect, privilege, perspective and how to approach micro-aggressions. Those same groups are also working with minority underclassmen and Associate Principal Omar Rodriguez to provide mentoring.
Eady said the boys and girls basketball teams wore Walk With Me T-shirts last year and sold them to the public. Other Big Eight schools are also wearing the shirts this year. Flyers with facts and statistics about racism in Dane County will be available at three home boys basketball games in January.
The Board also got a sneak preview of a 9-minute video that Maka produced about micro-aggressions. It will air at MHS throughout the day and also be shown at the boys basketball game against Memorial on Saturday Night.
"We couldn't turn around and hire someone to have impact you are having,'' Board president Bob Green. "Thank you for helping us get a little closer to our goal to helping all of our students succeed. Keep moving forward and doing what you are doing because we appreciate the help.''