Embracing the Change

Maddie Walker, Reporter

2020/21 Planning Committee
Row 1: Christina Griggy, Hava Bailey, Taryn Thomas, Claire Laux, Ryan Rhinehart; Row 2: Mrs. Dreher, Andrew Valetta, Tanner McKown, Charles Bowman, Patrick Gallagher, Makhia Friedman, Heidi Jurging

This year’s Leadership Planning Committee had to “make their own box” when it came to this year’s retreat. Everybody embraced change when attending this virtual retreat. Although it was not the same, it still had a huge impact on students.

Sophomore Brigid Brennan says, “The biggest impact for me (Brigid) was just being inspired to make and cause change because I feel since we are so young, we feel like we can’t be listened to and make a change.”

When asked what her favorite part of the retreat was, this first first-time attendee, Grace Polcha, says, “Being able to learn about how I (Grace) can change for the better and help my peers change. I also loved all of the different speakers.” The speakers that had attended the retreat are, Heather and Liberty Schultz,  who talked about ‘Making your Own Box,’ Jake Kelfer who talked about ‘Embracing your Eyebrows,’ and Shaneen Harris, who performed a spoken word slam.

Of course, the main focus of this retreat was “change”, but it also had a huge emphasis on social justice.

Kent State’s BUS (Black United Students) also shared their own poetry and informed the attendees that they (BUS) created Black History Month. Mrs. Dreher and Dr. Bowman also had a presentation on civil discourse, which was eye-opening to many students. When discussing these things, there was a disclaimer that it had nothing to do with politics, which made people feel comfortable.

As Heidi Jurging said, “This is a brave space.” That means that no space is ever completely safe, but you have to be brave and take that leap to grow and learn. The retreat promotes a brave space and encourages students to join change-based clubs, like Riders for Social Justice, RTA, Student Council, Booster Club, Interact Club, etc. Even the Planning Committee members learned a lot from this retreat.

Planning Committee member Taryn Thomas says, “What I learned from this retreat was that when you get too comfortable, you settle and you don’t grow. Be more inclusive and practice patience. Ask yourself, ‘Do you want to be comfortable or do you want to grow?'” She continues with, “Embrace discomfort, invite change, and don’t forget to remember that failure can be exciting! F.A.I.L: First Attempt in Learning! When you learn better, you do better!”

Although different, this year was an amazing retreat, and everyone needs to Embrace the Change! Andrew Valetta will finish up this article with some words of wisdom. He says, “Change is inevitable, but it’s our attitude towards change and how we adapt that can influence how we move forward.”