“Students Transforming a School”

Guest blog by Erin Byrnes, English teacher, Garner Magnet High School, Wake County, NC

One weekend three years ago I got a text from a student who wanted to start a club to make our school better.  He had been talking with his friends over the weekend. By Monday morning five students wanted to start a club called, “Students Transforming a School” (STS). We now have the largest club on campus with over eighty members. At almost every meeting we get new members.  One week we had ten students join. The club has sponsored a number of activities that have improved our school.

The first project was “Fun Lunch.” One member noticed that some students ate lunch alone.  The club reached out to them with icebreaker activities.  The first few lunches, it was hard not to get emotional about the friendships being formed and the connections being made. Everyone benefited.

Another activity took place during preparations for anti-bullying week. Students described their personal experiences with bullying on colored paper.  Their heart-felt stories were displayed in the bathrooms around campus, and this inspired a palpable change in the tone of student interactions.  The art club used lacquer to make it a more permanent part of the bathrooms.

The club also wrote and performed a series of skits to help freshmen transition to high school. This spring, we will perform them at the three middle schools that feed our high school.  The students want to to improve the culture of their school by showing examples of positive behavior. It is inspiring to see such good work being done by such fine young people.


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