Since America is a very diverse nation, the average person would think that our school system would be even more diverse. For most schools, especially private schools, that is not the case. However, at De La Salle North Catholic High School, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our school. We embrace all nationalities, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and Asian and Pacific Islander Month. Just a few weeks ago, we had our Third Annual Mix It Up Week. By definition, Mix It Up Week helps students foster respect, understanding, and inclusivity in our school by learning how to celebrate our differences and discover what unites us.
During Mix It Up Week, we had many activities planned. For two days in a row, we had an extra hour-long period added to our schedule. During that time, the school was "mixed up" by gender, school year, and racial and ethnic background and put into different classrooms. There, the groups participated in activities that were specifically designed for encouraging discussion about differences and making students see their classmates in a new, positive way.
During one activity called "Where the Wind Blows," participants played a game similar to musical chairs. When someone mentioned a characteristic (such as "speaks a different language at home" or "works an after-school job") everyone who had that characteristic needed to find a new spot in a circle. This game helped to show commonalities and shared experiences. Another activity was called "Silent Conversation." Groups were shown thought-provoking images and, instead of speaking out loud, people wrote back and forth about what they thought was going on in the photo. The pictures were about issues affecting young people today, such as body image or bullying. Also throughout the week, during lunch, we had classes that taught different things about diversity. For example, our school history teacher, Mr. Peter Myers, taught students how to tie a bow tie in order to teach ways to be unique. To make Mix It Up Week even more awesome, we played Michael Jackson's famous song "Black and White" as our school bell and passing period bell.
In addition, during one of the Mix It Up days, we had a visit from two special guests, students from the Catlin Gabel School Diversity Committee. They came during the week to observe, so that, hopefully, they can do something similar at their school. As De La Salle North does so well, we welcomed them with open arms and made their experience special, suggesting tips and even offering to be a part of their Mix It Up Week.
Mix It Up Week helped students, faculty and staff address misconceptions about different groups and understand the realities and dreams of different people. Since we are a small community, it had the effect of bringing the school together and helping us all to realize that we can be friends and be together as one big family.