Friday, February 15, 2008


While subbing today at Shen, the RESPECT Club put on a RESPECT Arts Festival, a program/club/festival I think should be included at other schools. The club supports the arts and expression of the self. It promotes respect, love, and unity between students, teachers, and others outside the school. I think it has a great purpose and message. They have open mic nights on Friday nights to promote alternative programs for students, other than drinking or doing drugs. And, they devote one full day of school to celebrating the arts, which was today.

Each period is filled with student musicians, motivational speakers, cheerleading, gymnasts... Anything where someone can express themself to a wider audience. The library was filled with artwork, writings, and student panels. It was incredible. They even had a henna station where they would tattoo you for a buck to raise money for their club. (Of course I participated). Orange tattoo of flowers and swirls now around my right wrist.

I was just blown away by the talent and motivation of high school students. You could tell how much effort students put in to making this happen, and the effort students put into their talents (music, artowrk, etc). Young people are so gifted, especially if we give them chances like this to show it off.

I was disheartened when I heard that the school will no longer accept RESPECT Days in the future--a waste of time they seem to the district. Students skip out on that day, a lot talk during performances; it's hard to get an entire student body to want to go along with something so "respectful." To me, this seems like a travesty, but I'm not a part of the school to protest. I just wish that other schools could pick this up, or that Shen could do something to change this decision.

What talents would you have to display at a festival like this?

When I was a teenager, I put up some of my poetry, but it probably wasn't any good.

Honestly, do you think a program like this is a waste of time, or do you think it has so much positivity coming out of it that it negates the fact of coming to school not to do schoolwork?

1 comment:

Megan said...

I think the notion of "respect" is outdated for students. They don't want to hear it preached to them... so why is this festival still called "RESPECT"? Kids hear this and they're like... blah blah blah this is so hokey it's disgusting.

Couldn't it be the same festival with the same principles under a different guise? All of the talent sounds amazing, but if's it's blantantly to promote respect, kids think it's all baloney. Maybe it just needs a newer, fresher, and more engaging title and purpose... Like if kids know that these programs exist so they won't go out and be hooligans, then of course they're not going to want to come or pay attention because as we know, students often see being "good" as uncool.

Why do we have to tell the kids that it's a safe alternative to booze? Isn't there SOME higher purpose? If not, the whole festival turns into a rah-rah-rah of let's all be little angles... and as you and I both know, the majority of high school students are definately not.

It's a shame to lose something so great as what you have in your school. Even though many students don't pay attention etc... what about the ones that DO? What about the ones that the performances actually touch??

Something like this gives names and faces to the invisible, and makes everyone feel important... even if they're not #1 in the class or super famous in the school for being a good artist or musician. It gives each and every student a chance to BE SOMEONE. Better yet, it gives them a chance to be adults who are cultivating their own knowledge, relationships, and understandings between each other rather than the teachers being the dictators of the school and of the students learning.

Weren't we always taught to provide meaningful and relevant opportunities to foster learning and relationships????