Unity Day at Newaygo High School
Photos and story by Alexis Mercer
You are enough.
Every Newaygo High School student and staff member was given a shirt donning that slogan on Wednesday, April 18. The entire day of "alternate instruction" was spent getting that message across to the students.
NHS has taken time to build a culture of inclusion through an alternate day of instruction for several years now. The first year it was three days of anti-bullying messages and activities for students to participate. Since then, it has evolved into a day that students and staff look forward to all year long.
Theresa Westcott has been the coordinator for the Regional Special Olympics events that have taken place at NHS for many years. Last year she helped Newaygo become a Unified School, which means that in addition to hosting the Regional Special Olympics, NHS would host a "United Game" where special education students participated with and against other students in the school. This became part of the Lions United Day.
In addition to students being able to participate in the United Game, other activities took place throughout the day that helped students interact with each other in ways that aren't possible during the course of a regular school schedule. Some of those activities included board games, painting rocks for the #rockinNewaygo project, juggling, and card games.
For the last hour and a half of the school day, the students gathered in the gymnasium and had the unique opportunity to listen to Beacon Light, a rapper with a message of self-love and acceptance. His entertaining show filled the students and staff of NHS with a positive message and energy.
Funding for the shirts and Beacon were made possible through a grant funded by the Special Olympics for the messages of anti-bullying and unification of all students.
For more information on Beacon Light, go to his website at http://beaconlightmusic.com/
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