Notes from Shelly Jones, MS LA/SS Teacher

ShellyJones_2014-15Last Thursday, Free the Children’s national speaking tour “It Starts With You!” visited
St. Francis. All students in 4th through 8th grade heard from two dynamic young women, Marisol Quevedo and Hannah Gavagan, who both experienced bullying in middle school and high school. Marisol and Hannah spoke of the power of words and explained the value of choosing kinder responses to others. They illustrated for students how in 10 seconds they have the power to take a stand that can have a significant impact on the lives of others. After their presentation, Marisol and Hannah spent the rest of the day in an action-oriented workshop for Middle School student council and We Act Club Bully_1members. Students learned how to create safe emotional spaces with peers, and they created an action plan for how to foster more “hot zones,” or areas in the school and the community where all students feel welcomed and accepted for who they are. A special thanks to Disney’s Club Penguin and Free the Children for making this valuable opportunity available for our students!

On a separate note, a special thanks goes to Rabbi Joe Rapport and his son, Lev ‘08, for leading the 6th graders in their exploration of Judaism as part of their World Religions Social Studies project. The students toured The Temple and learned a great deal about Judaism, as well as local history. A special thanks also goes to 6th grader Bentlea Schwartz for arranging the visit!