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On Monday, two members of the Native American Hopi tribe addressed the Upper and Middle School history classes in the Performing Arts Center. Iva Honyestewa Honwynum (“Female Bear Walking”) and Edward Honyestewa Talayouma (“The Leaves of the Reed”) shared details of Hopi culture, taking the audience through the lifetime of a member of the Hopi tribe, from birth and child naming ceremonies (five names total for women, and three names for men), until death. They shared their 13-month calendar and the ceremonies held in each, including Winter Solstice, Bean Dances, and Women’s Basket Dances. They shared family photos and explained how traditional hairstyles must be earned through the completion of rites such as the Grinding and Wedding ceremonies.
Iva, a basket weaver and jeweler, and Ed, a sculptor, were brought to campus by Upper School teacher Willa Greenstone, who has gotten to know the couple on Interim Trips to the Hopi Reservation over the past 10 years. Mrs. Greenstone reached out to them after her U.S. History students expressed interest in understanding more about the Native American cultures after studying Jamestown. Mrs. Greenstone decided that the best way to teach that was to give her students access to “a firsthand, primary source understanding of one tribe’s culture.”
The talk also touched on the emotional topics of straddling the two worlds of the U.S. and the Reservation, including the celebration of Thanksgiving in Western Culture despite the oppression it represents to Native Americans. Despite this, the message that Iva and Ed left students with is the importance of being appreciative and thankful every day.
This week, Upper School students participated in conversations and activities to de-stigmatize mental health issues for Love Your Mind Week. Hosted by Peer-to-Peer, students trained in Peer-to-Peer elective classes to be peer helpers, peer educators, and conflict mediators, Love Your Mind Week kicked-off Monday with a dedicated Upper School Town Hall Meeting where students shared testimonials and engaged in open mic discussions. It continued throughout the week with a series of lunchtime activities and conversations.
“Our goal for Love Your Mind week in Peer-to-Peer was to create more open dialogue surrounding mental health at Westridge to foster positive change in the community,” said Sosi D. ’21. “We recognize that mental health is sometimes a hard, vulnerable topic to discuss, but we also realize that the only way to support and to help our peers is to listen to their stories. Open forums like Town Meeting and the lunch talks throughout the week strive to make that possible.”
In the Town Meeting, students addressed a range of topics, including learning differences and what they wish others, including teachers and peers, understood about their unique challenges; mental health diagnosis and feelings about how language about those diagnoses are used (i.e. flippantly saying, “I’m so OCD I cleaned entire room!”); the stress of parental expectations and impact on mental health; and, the impact of stress on mental health in general.
“Many students expressed that having the opportunity to address their peers and their teachers helped them feel seen and heard,” said Dr. Lisa Carruthers, director of counseling and student support. “Though the conversation was, at times, heavy, the discourse was meaningful and respectful.”
The lunchtime programs included Mediation Monday, Workout Wednesday (Zumba), and tomorrow will be Fun Friday (board games)–activities that allow students to take a break, have fun, and connect with each other in a safe space.
Love Your Mind Week has been held for the past several years, based on the success of Love Your Body Week, launched by Peer-to-Peer four years ago to coincide with National Eating Disorder Month.
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- ThuNov21 Multicultural Parent Collaborative (MPC) Coffee 8:00 AM to 9:30 AMCommunity Room
- ThuNov21 Lower School After School Tour 3:30 PM to 5:00 PMCampus wide
- FriNov22 Yam Festival 11:00 AM to 2:00 PMAyrshire & Foreman Courtyards
- FriNov22 Assembly - Upper School Chamber Orchestra Assembly (Middle & Upper School Only) 2:40 PM to 3:10 PMPAC