Tag Archives: student activism

Collaborating To Save ‘Collab’

Elliott Landon’s decision to spare “Collab” — the popular and innovative sophomore Staples course that emphasizes critical thinking and cross-discipline analysis — is not about political theater.

Nor is it about giving in to pressure.

It’s about students believing in something that has value, then believing in themselves enough to stand up for it.

Staples High SchoolMost of the Stapleites who spoke against cutting “Collab” had nothing to gain from it.  They’re done with the course.

But they wanted their younger siblings and friends — as well as students they don’t even know — to have the chance at an educational experience they felt was worthwhile and good.

It’s interesting that “Collab” is a joint venture between the English and social studies departments.  Perhaps in that very class these young people learned to research an issue, analyze it from all sides, take a position, express themselves clearly, and affect change.

Congratulations to them on a truly “collaborative” effort.

Rally In The Rain

A little rain did not deter a diverse crowd of Staples students from massing in front of Town Hall this afternoon.

The Stapleites — from all 4 grades, and groups ranging from Players to athletes to math team members — hoped to draw attention to what they call devastating effects of budget cuts on all aspects of Westport education.

Speakers included Jahari Dodd, an ABC House scholar who found a home at Staples 3,000 miles from his house in California; JJ Mathewson, a freshman organizer of the rally who left private school to attend Staples; Eric Wessan, a member of the school’s Young Republicans group, and a 7th grader looking ahead.

The group chanted “1.4 no more!” (in reference to the sum already cut from the education budget), sang “525,600 Minutes” (the “Rent” tune that asks “How do you measure a year?”) — and hoped their advocacy on behalf of their own schooling was heard by the people controlling the purse strings.

A diverse crowd gathers in front of Town Hall.

A diverse crowd gathers in front of Town Hall.

Junior Jahari  Dodd rallies the crowd

Junior Jahari Dodd rallies the crowd

Freshman JJ Mathewson talks with Rob Sullivan of the Minuteman.

Freshman JJ Mathewson talks with Rob Sullivan of the Minuteman.

A News12 reporter readies her stand-up report.

A News12 reporter readies her stand-up report.

Board of Ed member Jim Marpe, Staples principal John Dodig and Westport schools superintendent Elliott Landon observe the student rally.

Board of Ed member Jim Marpe, Staples principal John Dodig and Westport schools superintendent Elliott Landon observe the student rally.