This is the first in a series of articles written by student leaders on issues to raise awareness and share a fresh perspective.
6 Jan 2018
Finding Unity and Plurality
All school leadership at Berkeley High aims to build community and foster a sense of unity among all Berkeley High students. For a school of 3200 students, and five learning communities, this is no small task.
We recognize that, in such a large student body, and in such an open and diverse campus as Berkeley High, that many perspectives will flourish. We as individuals are encouraged to bring forth our voices and our ideas into the classroom and our communities. We have a plurality.
In a plurality, and in a campus that is organized by smaller learning communities, the challenge of unity and community becomes complex. Individuals from different backgrounds will naturally gravitate toward those with whom they share common interests or heritage. Students of South Asian descent, like me, might find others of South Asian descent to form a club or group. We share common music, common food, and a common background. We naturally will share an identity separate from those of other classmates. Building unity is a challenge that we face with a diverse and large student body.
We, in leadership, have approached this from the perspective of unity through the exploration of our individual identities: a mosaic of students. We think of ourselves as capable of several identities, just as an individual tile can have many colors. We may consider ourselves South Asian, female, an IB-student, or a musician, and also a Berkeley High student. That is the basis of all of our activities in ASB: being a Berkeley High student is common to all of us, and we accept this identity along with other aspects of ourselves. We are pushing toward a shared sense of identity, a shared unity.
With the basis of a mosaic, we have decided to organize all school events to help build community and a sense of a shared unity. We are putting a lot of thought into designing activities that would pursue these goals above all else. One activity that we, as freshman, are organizing is class to class presentations among freshmen to enhance the community of the Class of 2021. We are brainstorming several options, including playing a game of Jeopardy in each class with categories based on the identities of the members of that class.
It is our goal that, ultimately, these activities will help bring forth a collective: that by sharing our identities with each other, together we can push beyond the natural tendencies of separation and find a common language and shared destiny as students at Berkeley High.