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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
It was infectious.
As principal Dr. Eric Minus walked through the halls of Sherwood High School during the recent Unity Week, nearly every student he encountered put up a forefinger and shouted, “One Sherwood.”
The week of March 18-22 marked the school’s first Unity Week, featuring activities geared towards the celebration of uniqueness, while also fostering togetherness.
When Minus arrived at the school last summer, he worked with parents, students, staff and community members to establish the Five Pillars of Excellence.
“This week is a celebration of the Unity Pillar of Excellence and the different individuals that make us who we are as Sherwood family,” Minus said. “As a family, we know that we are stronger as one collective body than as separate parts. The Sherwood family is special because it encompasses people from different backgrounds and experiences. Yet, the uniqueness of who we are should never be overshadowed by what we have in common. We are ‘One Sherwood … Sherwood Strong.’”
Minus said the celebration of unity is important, especially with the school’s diverse population.
“Once that is set in the building and all students feel like they belong, we will start to see the academic benefits,” he said.
He said while there have been some incidents of intolerance, he thinks the climate could be improved.
“We are just not as tight-knit as I would like to see,” he said.
Some of the events held during the week included bagpipers, a drum circle, cultural dance instruction by students, a door-decorating contest, bulletin board decorating, students placing their fingerprints on cut-out letters that spell “ONE,” an essay contest, a spoken word event, an International Show and concluding with the Taste of Sherwood, which featured a variety of food trucks and a DJ.
“It’s been really fun,” Minus said.
Emma Pfeiffer, a sophomore, said she enjoyed Unity Week.
“I just learned an Armenian dance at lunch, in a circle with people I have never met before,” she said. “I think we are all enjoying learning new things.”
Jasmine Lopez, a junior, said she enjoyed learning about different cultures and different dances at lunch.
“Everyone seemed willing to take risks and try new experiences,” she said. “Overall, the positive energy from all the events have brought everyone together and created good vibes.”
Liam Walsh, a senior, said Unity Week has exposed him to different cultures and allowed him to appreciate the diversity at Sherwood.
“The drum circle next to the cafeteria was very interesting to watch and inclusive to students who wanted to join in,” he said. “These activities are normalizing diversity here at Sherwood and allowing students to appreciate their own cultures, as well as others. Unity Week is making it easier to be proud of diversity.”
Senior Olawale Arongundade said he enjoyed “everything” about Unity Week.
“From the activities at lunch to the door decorating, to the food trucks to the International Show, it has been so nice being able to learn about other cultures,” he said. “I have also liked being able to laugh and smile with some peers I have never met before. Learning about other cultures allows people to open up about themselves and understand each other which will lead to a more unified community.”
Minus expects Unity Week to become an annual event, but also thinks the impact will continue.
“I see this as a kickoff to changing the culture in the building, not just for one week,” he said.
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