Students at three Spokane Valley high schools found new ways last week to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.
At University High School, the students heard from another school. At Central Valley High School, technology delivered a panel discussion into every classroom. And at East Valley High School, a group of students pulled off a whole week of activities.
U-Hi students gave high marks to a Martin Luther King Day assembly brought to them Friday by students from Ferris High School.
Ferris’ Multicultural Student Union, a group of about 30 students, performed a play they’d written themselves.
The plot centers around a homicide.
A girl is shot and killed at a party. Suspicion focuses on the black teens who attended. At the funeral, which is attended by blacks and whites, tension is thick. Kids begin to scuffle.
Finally, a blond girl says, “I have a confession to make … Listen to me for once. I shot Erica.”
Although sound system problems detracted from the performance, the U-Hi students cheered the performers. As they left the bleachers, dozens of teens said that, on a scale of 1 to 10, they’d rate the assembly 7 or higher.
U-Hi turned to Ferris for help with this year’s MLK Day celebration because the students wanted to hear from other students, not an adult speaker, said U-Hi teacher Shirley Bonuccelli.
At Central Valley High School, students videotaped a panel discussion on Thursday with black poet and speaker Stephy NoblesBeans, a student life director at Whitworth College.
“We talked mostly about trust and respect, and how students perceived differences,” Beans said.
The videotape was shown Friday in all tutorial and advisory period classes at CV.
At West Valley High School, Martin Luther King Day was overshadowed by an assembly on suicide prevention.
At East Valley High, students in PRIDE - which stands for Personal Responsibility in Diversity and Education - put on what they hope will be the first annual Diversity Week.
One of the high points was Wednesday’s armband game. Students wearing colored armbands of crepe paper were restricted to restrooms, drinking fountains and cafeteria tables marked with the same color. Seniors helped patrol the cafeteria at lunch, making sure students were segregated by color.
Students participated, even though they were outside their comfort zone, said PRIDE member Tracy Wilhelm.
“Armband Day went fantastically we feel,” said Paul Warfield, PRIDE member. “It was a good week. We feel really good that we got this off the ground.”
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