They’ve already experimented with origami, the Japanese art of paper-folding, and they’ve cooked pasta to celebrate Italian cuisine.
Next up for members of the Diversity Club at E.L. Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre is a program, set for 8:30 this morning, during which they will lead the student body in a pledge they wrote themselves:
“We, the students of E.L. Meyers Junior/Senior High School, do hereby swear to uphold the values of all students, faculty and staff. All bullying of any type shall be abolished from this day onward. Our judgment shall not be clouded by the color, religion, race, culture or sexual orientation of any member of the Mohawk family. This creed is our way of life. The only colors that matter are BLUE AND GOLD.”
What do they hope their fellow students will do?
“Look at everyone equally,” 17-year-old Alex Muniz said.
Bullying has been a problem, some of the students said.
“I see it all the time,” said Michaela Springer, 17. “It’s not always physical. It can be words.”
Through the Diversity Club, Donnaisha Randolph, 17, said, “We try to help people feel safe. Everyone needs a safe haven.”
“We’d like other schools to follow our example,” Springer said.
On a recent afternoon the students rehearsed for their Diversity Through History Program, with ninth-grade student Aria Mason reading a dramatic poem about Martin Luther King’s dream, which faculty adviser Genelle Hoban-Sedon said had been written by a Meyers student of the past named Richard E. Franklin.
“For I have a dream, spake the shepherd, that all men shall be free, to seek a path to the heavens, to walk with dignity.
“And I have this dream of a future, a faith that we will find, as we walk along in oneness, blessed peace for all mankind,” Mason read loudly and clearly, using the public-speaking skills she has honed on Meyers debate team.
The program also will include a talk by the Rev. Shawn Walker, a Meyers grad and pastor of First Baptist Church in Wilkes-Barre, as well as the presentation of a plaque — donated by Lasting Impressions of Wilkes-Barre — with the words of the diversity pledge engraved on it.
Perhaps the liveliest part of the program will be a series of dances by members of the Spanish Club.
“I like the bachata,” 14-year-old Jennifer Medina said with a smile, naming a large group number.
The cumbia and a folklorico dance with a merengue beat round out the presentation.
After rehearsing the folklorico dance, Ana-Maria Mejia, 17, said her mother had made the long, colorful skirt she will wear and her cousin Carmen choreographed.