This Is Us Day met with apathy by student body

October 26, 2019

During This Is Us Day, students had the opportunity to listen to a variety of speakers (including our very own teachers, alumni and fellow peers) discuss a wide range of topics. To name just a few, George Nakata, a Japanese-American man from Portland, came to tell his story about his experience in an internment camp following the Pearl Harbor attack. Kristin Teigen (a professor at Portland State University) shared about the history of white supremacy in Oregon, a topic that dates all the way back to the early 1800s. Sally Kohn, the keynote speaker and political commentator, illustrated the world’s need for compassion and change through personal anecdotes. 

Unfortunately, the presence of these distinguished speakers did not seem to be enough incentive to interest many in the student body. Upon arriving at school on Monday, the lack of students roaming the hallways was painfully apparent. Despite the freedom to create their own, unique schedules, many students opted to skip because it was not technically an official school day with regular classes. 

However, this could not be farther from the truth. The seminars presented during the day were arguably just as or even more vital to our growth as individuals than any science or history class, and were formed around the idea of fostering an inclusive and self-aware community, something LOHS has struggled with in the past. The variety of options allowed for students to gain valuable insight into areas such as race, culture, politics, societal norms, mental health and climate change; and frankly, it was disappointing to hear that students would pass this opportunity up in exchange for a few more hours of sleep. 

For a school that is seemingly so passionate about our sports teams and academics, the participation during This Is Us Day clearly reflected that we are not as dedicated as we outwardly appear. The fact that students couldn’t even bother to show up is frankly pathetic and reflects poorly upon our school from all angles. If asked if LOHS has an absence of unity and acceptance, surely students would point out our limited scope into the realities outside of the Lake Oswego “bubble.” But once met with the chance to widen their perspective in a nonjudgmental and accepting environment, the reaction was far from the warm embrace that was initially hoped for. 

To reference Sally Kohn, the world can change when people take action. If we recognize that there is a problem, it is our responsibility as members of this community to better the situation for those who might feel uncomfortable or alone in a place where everyone should prosper. Even if it’s as little of an effort as simply going to school like any other normal Monday, we have the power to create a difference for the school now and for generations to come. 

Thank you to the Diversity Council for organizing such a unique and meaningful experience for the students who did participate. Hopefully, This Is Us Day will continue as a tradition into the following years and see an increase in student enthusiasm and attendance. 

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