Girls assembly motivates schoolwide change


Kind Campaign

Students at the LHS Kindness Campaign assembly March 7 present their kindess cards in front of their classmates. Image courtesy of @kindcampaign on Instagram.

Josie Hafer, Opinion Editor

On Thursday, March 7, the student body at Lewiston High School attended assemblies divided by gender. The girls assembly focused on the power of kindness, while the boys learned about character and humility.

Many students were incredibly moved by these presentations, and some returned to class in tears after the assemblies’ emotional presentations.

However, in the weeks leading up to the assemblies, other students were doubtful of their purpose, including myself. Originally, there were only plans for a two-hour girl’s assembly about female bullying, leaving male students in a study hall or similar period. After learning this information, I personally felt as though this was unfair to female students, because we were at the risk of falling behind in class or not receiving a chance to catch up on work as the boys would.

I spoke to Christina Cahill, a counselor at LHS, about the possibility of an assembly for male students. Within a few days, school staff announced that LHS boys would also attend an assembly March 7.

With Cahill I mentioned possible topics for the boys assembly, like aggression, communication or others that often arise with bullying between boys. However, I felt frustrated by the answer I received.

“We’re not necessarily going to focus on bullying with the boys,” Cahill said. “We’re going to look at what sort of resources we have available and pick some sort of topic that is important to boys.”

At that point, there were possibilities of an activity-based assembly for the boys, or a presentation from the National Guard.

This made it seem as though LHS staff held boys’ futures in a higher regard than those of their female students. After all, there are multiple female students at LHS who consider joining the armed forces after high school.

I then came to the conclusion that having equality of themes was the best way to go for these events. This would not only bring attention to important issues that often are not discussed with men, but also could give a message of more level playing fields between male and female students in terms of opportunities and advancements.

After speaking with Mike Jones, who teaches social science at LHS, it was decided that the boys’ assembly should focus on character and personal growth. Speaking from experience as a football coach, Jones said that the most important thing for his players is for them to not only grow as athletes, but grow as people.

A group of male staff then came together to impart similar ideas at the boys assembly. At the March 7 event Ricky Guzman, Skip Atkinson, Matt Pancheri, Scott Funk, Brian Birdsell and Jones all gave short speeches on topics ranging from humility to speaking from the heart. The personal connections between students and staff made the presentations all the more meaningful.

After the assemblies, there were mixed reactions. Many girls, despite initial negative expectations, found the assembly engaging and meaningful. The girls assembly also brought to light the social power that girls can have. While some girls use this power to be hurtful, a little bit of kindness can also make an impact.

It was me, along with my friends and peers, who used this power to respectfully voice our concerns about plans for the events March 7. Speaking up respectfully, we were able to make change that led to a day here at LHS that made more fair opportunities for all.