Student stories become highlight of April 8 school assembly
Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:12pm
EDIT: I made a few factual errors. Albert Anastasio did not "throw up" but instead, suffered from other problems during his race. Also, Stef Senior did not talk about bullying at Franklin, but about bullying at her old school.
URBANA — THE CROWD's LAUGHTER echoed off the walls of Uni Gym, as senior Ollie Goldbart did a dance step to show how he whizzed past an unsuspecting railing on his way to breakfast. Goldbart, along with four of his senior peers, were the highlight of Uni's April 8 assembly.
The Uni Period assembly had ended without as many grumbles and groans as could be expected of an assembly students were required to attend. At the start of the assembly, Uni High Director Jeffrey Walkington noted that a guest speaker was unable to attend due to outside scheduling issues, but directed attention to the assembled seniors sitting in a line behind him.
Seniors Albert Anastasio, Celinda Davis, Ollie Goldbart, Katy Metcalf, and Stef Senior successively stood up and shared their personal values and philosophies on life.
Anastasio began by describing how he values openness in the classroom. He shared an anecdote of training for several months to break a track record only to lose the actual race due to unforeseen problems. Anastasio capped off his speech by detailing how openness helped him make four new friends while volunteering at a program for learning-disabled children.
Davis shared the process of learning to forgive her aunt's act of homicide and dealing with the trauma that her aunt's actions have caused to close family members.
Goldbart lifted the crowd's mood, following his light-hearted speech on enjoying the path along the way when striving towards goals. He gave several examples, such as doing a dance move off the railing even though he missed breakfast.
Metcalf talked about the importance of truth and fiction, especially in literature. She shared a quote from Infinite Jest.
Senior talked about the importance of respect, using anecdotes about bullying in her old school to emphasize that respect helps everyone feel better about themselves.
This assembly was meant to help us share personal outlooks and principles through which they live out their daily lives.
According to the "This I Believe" website, the goal is to "encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own." The assembly gave students an opportunity to learn about themselves and their peers and validate the value of their views and voices.
Although the assembly ended before history teacher Bill Sutton had time to talk (much to the dismay of the student body), Uni students generally gave the assembly a positive review.
"All of the speakers were excellent," said senior Charlie Newman-Johnson. "It was an exciting event, and I look forward to more school assemblies in the future."