Our goal is to break down the prominent barriers among our student body at Provo High so that we can become a unified, accepting, and loving school where everybody can be friends with anybody. Parts one and two of Breaking the Walls attempted to define this problem, but that still leaves the question: what now?
We brought this question to Mrs. Brown, our fearless principal, along with our findings. Mrs. Brown was curious what our ideas were to fix this issue that plagues our school. She agreed that this is a common problem with not only the students, but also the faculty. She pitched in her ideas and concerns, which included segregation with racial groups and the ideas that she and assistant principal Mr. Garrison have been discussing.
We all came up with the conclusion that activities such as speed-friending would be an effective way to create a closer knit student body and to do the same within the faculty. It is important to have a unity within the faculty because behaviors often stem off of our leaders and the people who we look up to and admire. In our case as high school students, the people that fulfill this role for us are the faculty.
In fact, the faculty response to part 2 was immense. “I’m glad we have students who care enough about belonging to openly discuss it with hundreds of other students,” replied Sgt. Kevin Sater, JROTC and Financial Lit. teacher.
“Thanks for sharing this!” Melanie Nelson from the math department wrote in reply to an email. “It was powerful [you] deserve a lot of credit for broaching such a difficult topic! I loved watching this and I hope it ignites a change here at Provo High. Not only with the students but the the faculty as well!”
Perhaps most exciting of all was fellow math teacher Kevin Burnham’s response. “Great article. My first thought is that the
‘speed friending’ activity might be a great thing to start off a school year within my classroom. I’ve always used that first day as time for me to try to get to know the students a little bit, but it might actually be more worthwhile to spend the time having the students getting to know each other better instead.”
Todd Smith is took these survey results and applied them in his history classes during the final days of school. Mr. Smith additionally invited his history students to share their responses and perspectives, which included Ethan Hughes, who said, “Being in marching band, we feel like the football team is supposed to be mean to us.” Ethan went on to suggest, “[We need to] understand that people have different interest and you won’t necessarily relate to them. Just respect them.”
Our Facebook community agrees. These are a few responses from the last week.
Kristen Crawford, co-author of this article series, is a member of student government’s Public Relations team for next year. During this week’s student government retreat, Mr. Smith and student gov. officers took time to address the need for cultural change at Provo High. Speed-friending was mentioned along with assembly reform and activities outreach. Maybe there’s even a summer activity in the future.
Three months lie ahead before Provo High students walk the halls again and make their peers feel either welcome or alienated—three months of friends-only activities, family trips, personal time and space, jobs and internships, and an entirely self-centric world. Will anyone remember any of this in August?
Every year we are gifted a fresh start. Memories of the past years are muffled, and we are able to just pick up and press through another year. Issues like this persist when we let them dwindle with the old year. So yes, August can be different, but only if we keep having conversations like this. Jack Rhineer said it best: “Friendship is a two-way street.”