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More seminars, please

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On March 8, New Trier and the world celebrated International Women’s day: a day to celebrate the fight for women’s rights and gender equality.

Internationally, the day was marked with demonstrations, speeches and protests including the “A Day without Women” strike that asked women to take the day off work to force employers and the public to realize the might of the female workforce, despite evidence that women still are being paid less then their male counterparts.

New Trier took part in the day by hosting seminars each period such as a discussion on gender inequity in sports by Strength and Conditioning Coordinatior James Davis, and a presentation by Superintendent Dr. Linda Yonke. The all day event was sponsored by Girl Up Club, which is part of a United Nations campaign to empower girls all over the world.

The seminars were a success, with hundreds of students stopping in with a class or during a free period. All the KW classes attended the event as well and, for at least one period, most NT students were educated about a topic that, hopefully, had a lasting effect.

And maybe those forty minutes happened to introduce them to a different perspective, a perplexing issue, or a saddening fact that stuck with them; made them think about something beyond some group gossip or their impending chemistry test.

We, students, have been lucky these past couple of weeks. Not only were we enlightened by Wednesday’s Women’s day presentations, but on Feb. 28 New Trier students took part in the not so controversial All School Seminar Day on Civil Rights.

At both events students listened to powerful messages we don’t often get to hear in our day to day academic lives. What students did with the messages they heard were up to each student, but at least they listened and processed them.

And that is what is important: listening and respecting others’ opinions. A high school, specifically a prestigious high school that doesn’t have to deal with gang fights and dropouts, should work to infuse seminars and discussions that stem beyond the common core and ACT prep into our daily curriculum.     

For example, recently some of the senior psych classes took an in-school excursion to attend a discussion on gender by a speaker from the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. The presenter discussed a variety of topics such as information on transgender individuals, gender identity, and gender. The overlying message: only you can determine your gender identity.

Now gender, like women rights and civil rights, are discussions and issues we can all learn from. We are all individuals trying to coexist in this beautiful, heterogenous world.

Those able to attend the gender presentation, women’s seminar, or All School Seminar where given a tool that reaches beyond the ability to write a synthesis essay in your English class.

By attending these seminars and listening with open ears and a clear mind, we can all gain insight that will help us beyond our academic careers. The unique perspectives we learn in these seminar days will allow us to coexist in this ever increasing diverse and welcoming world.

So student leaders, administrators, and staff we have a simple request: more seminars. Continue to infuse seminars into to yearly curriculum (like many teachers have already done), embrace different perspectives, and help New Trier students grow beyond the impressive athletes and academics and into educated and open citizens of the modern world.

If our fellow peers still are not convinced that the personal growth obtained by these seminars is not worth the time, think of it as a competition with our rivals.    

Good grades and spectacular athletic abilities will only get us so far in the contemporary world. Diverse perspectives and an ability to coexist with those from whom we differ will get us much farther then our resumes’ reach.

So hear our plea; more seminars please.

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The student news site of New Trier High School.
More seminars, please