By: Miles Hirsch
Walled Lake Central celebrated its first UMatter Week November 6-10. Aimed at making all Vikings feel valued along with raising mental health awareness and preventing suicide, the week included many special events and activities.
“I thought that the week fulfilled its purpose of getting students to think about the impacts and effects of suicide and mental illness,” said English Teacher Justin Schumacher, who helped to support the planning of UMatter week
As students arrived the first day of UMatter Week, they were greeted with hall decorations designed to relay a message of positivity and inclusion. Clubs (Student Council, Feminist Club, Gay Straight Alliance, Chaldean American Student Association, National Honor Society, Art Club, Muslim Student Association, African American Alliance, Giving Tree, Social Justice Club) worked throughout the afternoon of Sunday, November 5 to bring the UMatter Week message to life.
During first hour, students were given bracelets that said “U MATTER at Walled Lake Central”. Teachers also had everyone write something nice on a piece of paper so that everyone got the piece of paper at the assembly.
At lunch, there was a wall that students would write on a sticky note saying why they matter. Senior Josie O’Connell, was very involved in Umatter week “The bracelets and the notes were very successful and made people’s day and made the school united.”
Thursday, a half day, was dedicated entirely to the UMatter Week campaign. Students split time between an assembly featuring “TED talks” from teachers and administrators and performances by WLC choirs and activities with their first hour classes. Activities included writing letters to others telling them they matter. And building towers with a group of people with limited supplies.
Additionally, students viewed and voted on submissions to the art and essay contest organized by the African American Alliance Club. There were many great essays submitted, and a teacher board voted to elect a few few to the final round where all the students vote. The winners won $500. Senior Xavier Kemp and the African-American Alliance organized and oversaw the essay and art contest “The art and essay writing contest was an exclusive week for students to express how the feel about the school.”
The week came to a close on Friday with staff handing out snacks being with notes saying that the recipients matter.
Assistant Principal Michelle Kalhorn, was very excited for UMatter week at Walled Lake Central “ We started planning over the summer and in about September students from all three high schools came to talk about it” She also said, “My favorite part was the assembly and class activities”
There was planning a month or two before telling people and discussing the comments. The meeting was lead by Senior Carson Biederman. “It took us about a month to specifically plan the entire UMatter week. But, I have to say my favorite thing about the whole week was the assembly and how it changed how people think about different topics.”