The WE organization visited Oswego High School Nov. 5 in a presentation and workshop available to certain students. The community service company gathered OHS teens in Civics, AP Government and Democracy school for a speech in the auditorium. Later after school, guest speakers requested specific students to attend a seminar with them.

WE has been known for its goal to help students build leadership skills and gain a better understanding about community service. OHS’s own WE Club, which was created last year, stems from this organization.

Guest speaker Aleya James explains the game “Dinosaur Rock, Paper, Scissors” (a variation of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”) and shows students the different levels they can be on. The first level is an egg, which everyone has to start as, and to show they are an egg, they have to crouch down on the group. The second level was a chicken, in which they stand up normally; the third level was a pterodactyl, in which students have to put their arms out and pretend they are flying; and the fourth and last level was a T-rex.

The presentation itself was conducted by two representatives of WE: Dameon Byrd Jr. and Aleya James. After introducing themselves, they went through segments of the speech that pushed students to understand the importance of charity and helping others. Byrd briefly told the story of a young man who was shot for his money on the way to the grocery store.

It ended with a promotional video for the organization, encouraging the teens watching to go out into their community, both to help people and prevent them from resorting to lows.

Guest speaker Damian Bryd leads the game “Hot Seat,” where students, sitting in a circle, ask the speakers random questions. The game is used so the students can get to know who they are, and makes the group more comfortable for later deeper conversations.

“I’ve learned a lot about the people around me and volunteer opportunities,” junior Mason Brauer said.

Students selected by WE Club were invited in advance to then attend a workshop after school with the speakers. There, they got into groups, talked about their passions, and got into the issues.

Students sign the Community Code, a poster with the rules and expectations of society. The code includes words such as loyalty, trustworthiness and acceptance.

Along with covering social problems, the representatives led the students in a team building game.

“I have done it before with with other organizations I’m involved in, and it’s also really good to get people out of their shell,” senior Peyton Raleigh

Senior Peyton Raleigh, also playing the Dinosaur Rock, Paper, Scissors game, stands at the top of the chain in the T-Rex position. “I felt very powerful because I was T-Rex; it was awesome going through the different levels,” Raleigh said. “Plus, I’m very competitive, so it was a healthy way for me to show that.”

 

WE has toured 90 cities and was in the Chicago area for two weeks. But before WE came to the students on that Monday, WE came to the teachers. English teacher and WE Club Sponsor Mrs. Jaclyn King was first emailed by the organization.

“I immediately thought of Ms. Shay, Civics and Democracy School, because the idea behind volunteering and civic engagement go hand in hand,” Mrs. King expressed.

Any student can still join WE Club, which meets every other Thursday in room 247.

“We want to empower students to have the power to have the ability to change their world, both on a global and local level,” sponsor Ms. Beth Prigodich added. “To recognize not only that they have a voice, but they can take action that will affect other people’s actions, and make a change that is positive.”

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