By: Christie Flood
A typical high school is one full of negative attitudes and bullying. Though, Clarkston High School has found a way to decrease these attitudes as well as bullying. The solution to these issues is A World of Difference or AWOD. Granted, the aforementioned problems may never be eliminated, but AWOD has managed to find a way to change both the culture and environment of CHS and SMS.
To create this inviting atmosphere, there must first be a team of determined individuals. This team is picked by Mrs.Bridgman, the current teacher of AWOD.
Mrs. Bridgman described these students as: "Strong communicators that are passionate and enthusiastic. They can easily interact with others."
This class of roughly 25 students touches nearly everyone in Clarkston High School whether that is through AWOD week or their own welcoming attitudes. They share these attitudes with their family, classmates, and just about everyone in the school.
Each day is new and exciting in class. Students in the class become very close to each other. They are a team of individuals that work together every day to help better CHS by making it a positive atmosphere.
This group of students may seem small but they all are driven to accomplish the same goal for their school. Throughout the year each individual works to spread positivity.
Julia Schichtle, an AWOD student for the past two years, elaborated on this goal by saying, "Our goal is for our school to create a more welcoming environment for each student which can be hard in a high school."
For this team of differing students to be able to work together, they have to bond. Their friendship is crucial because without it creating a friendly environment in the high school would be very difficult. Their way of bonding was making their own slogans towards the beginning of the school year. It proved to be quite the funny experience.
Isabelle Limbert, a first-year AWOD student, shared one of her favorite moments from this bonding experience. She elaborated about a fellow classmate, "CJ made his slogan: Always be a "brotha". We all read it as broth-a, like soup broth, instead of brother. Now it's a big joke to all of us."
Every day is a different challenge, but is fun and exciting for these students. They work extremely hard throughout the year but are always having fun while completing their work.
Each month, AWOD visits Sashabaw Middle School students. They teach in the Social Studies classes for that day. The AWOD students get to know each of these students in their class throughout their middle school careers.
Schichtle elaborated on these visits, "My favorite part of AWOD is building relationships with the middle school students. You get to encourage them."
The AWOD students put quite a bit of time into preparing to see these kids.
Limbert explained the process of preparing, "Before we go to the middle school we learn the lesson and then change it to make it better from last year's lesson."
The topics taught at the middle school vary from bullying to confidence to being optimistic. It is one of the few times in a school where students are taught life lessons.
CJ Robinson, a senior AWOD student, elaborated,"We teach kids at SMS the rights and wrongs in how to interact with people. We show them it's okay to be different and be proud of who you are but make sure you respect others."
Students join this class for various reasons including: encouraging others or making their school a more positive environment. The common theme among these students is that they all strive to make something about the community better.
Robinson explained why he chose to make room in his schedule for AWOD. "I joined AWOD because I thought it would be a good opportunity to help others to learn how to treat people. I feel like every day in your life you interact with others so I thought this would be a cool way to show younger students how to deal with people."
Throughout the years at CHS, AWOD has changed from a club to a year long class. During this journey, the class has kept the same philosophy一creating a positive school culture. This school culture is one in which students feel accepted and appreciated. This has expanded to students at multiple levels and will continue to expand in the future.