Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anti-Defamation League's Peer Leaders

by Matt Marenghi

It is with great pride that I will be co-advising Blake Middle School's Anti-Defamation League's Peer Leaders for a third consecutive year.  We will certainly miss the ADL Peer Leaders that have moved on to the high school, but we are also very excited to work with the students who were selected to be new Peer Leaders.

Though this school year is still relatively young, the ADL Peer Leaders have certainly been busy.  Motivated by our all school September 11th assembly, the Peer Leaders have collectively decided to clean up and revitalize Blake's courtyard which actually contains a 9/11 memorial within it (a former student's Eagle Scout project from 2004).  The following picture to the left shows them hard at work out there.
We’ve also started our weekly meetings.  Among other things we’ve discussed, the Peer Leaders were challenged to examine the federal discrimination case brought against the Boston Latin School.  In small groups, the Peer Leaders followed the case from the student uprising and protests last winter which lead to the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation this past September.  Our Peer Leaders then discussed how students really can be a force for positive change in their schools.

This past Friday, October 14th, our new Peer Leaders participated in one of three full day trainings provided by a representative from ADL.  This training prepares our students to use the positive power of peer influence to promote respect and civility in their schools and beyond.  The topics of diversity, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination were collaboratively examined and presented on.  The Peer Leaders left with a strong sense of the societal challenges that these issues present, and also with the passion and hunger to be catalysts for positive change.

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