Approximately sixty 6th grade students from Bloomfield Hills Middle, East Hills Middle, and West Hills Middle Schools recently took part in a Global Education, Equity and Inclusion (GEEI) workshop, facilitated by Bloomfield Hills High School Global Leader students. Entitled Be You - Be Inclusive - Be the Change, the full day workshop provided 6th grade students with the opportunity to explore ways to help create a more inclusive school community, and examine their role in our global society. Supported by district counselors, teachers, and family Global Champions, our BHHS Global Leaders led a high energy and interactive day of activities, encouraging a spirit of respect and acceptance, and building a stronger Bloomfield Hills School global community.
Three 12th grade Global Leader students - Ilyaas Rasheed, Ronda Hakim, and Bryce Gutowski - were nominated to facilitate the day’s activities. Global Leaders is a BHHS club, composed of students who have a passion for creating an equitable and inclusive school culture, and have also previously participated in a student workshop. Rasheed explains, “The first beginner’s workshop when I was in 9th grade really changed my perspective about the dynamics of high school, and taught me a lot. Ever since then, I’ve really wanted to be a part of Global Leaders, and I wanted to stay within this role. Today we three seniors have the opportunity to take this lead facilitator role. It’s new for us, and I really like it. These workshops help us build traits about ourselves that allow us to be communicative and inclusive towards all people. That will be helpful in life and career-wise, to help others feel comfortable and included.” Hakim reflects, “It’s nice to see this process grow; before we were the ones doing the activities, and now we’re the ones coming up with them and facilitating the workshops.” Gutowski shares, “I really like the Global Leaders ideology. As a 10th grader I was exposed to the beginner workshop, and I think as a 6th grader, to utilize the tools and the knowledge that you gain from this workshop about different cultures and about how to approach people in different situations is great. It’s not just a skill that you use in middle school or high school; it’s a life skill that everyone needs; even adults get affected by this. It’s such a powerful event and such a powerful day. I gain knowledge from it, as does everyone.”
6th grade students across the district indeed gained some powerful insights throughout the day-long workshop. BHMS student Brielle Brooks learned, “You don’t have to be one to stand with one. It means that you don’t have to be just like someone to be their friend or to stand up for them.” West Hills 6th grader Kathryn Ho shares, “I think it’s cool how everyone is unique and different. You don’t have to change; just be yourself. I like how here we could talk to each other and connect, and see how everyone else thinks. People may seem different on the outside, but they may be going through something hard on the inside.” West Hills 6th grader Sine Urtel expresses, “I like that we learned a little bit about each religion. It doesn’t depend on religion and race; it depends on action.” East Hills 6th grade student Lainey Socha notes, “My favorite activity was the breaking open of stereotypes. We got to explore deeper into what it was to categorize people, and we don’t want to do that. We want to break that open. It really meant a lot, because I know it’s a privilege to be here, and I enjoy being able to be a part of this.”
12th grade student facilitator Ronda Hakim notes the power of these workshops: “I want to pursue something where I’m working with people, creating something bigger, having something that has a group dynamic. This will help me throughout my entire life and career, just knowing how to speak to people, understand them, and not use first impressions, but to dive deeper into the person, understanding their stories. I know it’ll help me wherever I go down my path.”