by Kylie Newman
Names Day is designed to educate students about engaging in healthy peer relationships and to increase awareness of the negative effects that bullying has on students everywhere. It is not just a time to learn, but a time to reflect and change one’s future actions. It is a time to grow closer as a whole class and to gain knowledge about the experiences of others.
Freshman Joelle Singer Jensen described the day: “it was very eye-opening and heart-wrenching to see the students personal stories.” It allows students to relate on a different level with their peers than daily interaction offers. Names Day allows many students to develop relationships that go beyond the classroom, which is essential in an environment such as Greenwich High School. The day was filled with inspirational videos, discussions about student experiences, sessions led by trained mentors. Overall, the freshman class seemed to appreciate the impact of these activities and open talks.
As Greenwich High School is only a small community in the huge world we live in, it is often easy to get lost in it and to therefore develop a false image about the world beyond. At times, people do no notice bullying, since bullies can hide their actions or use less obvious means, such as social media. Thus, sometimes one comes to the conclusion that unhealthy relationships are not a major issue. However, bullying does happen unfortunately in our community and in schools across the world. Open discussion of this issue is key, but in everyday situations, this may be uncomfortable. Names Day creates a safe space to share experiences and thoughts that one would not always feel free to mention. Many students believed that they learned a lot about the world in general and about their classmates.
Freshman Grace Turner explained, “I thought it was very informative and helpful. It was emotional and healing and I think it was a very impactful day to remind everyone to be mindful of their actions and surroundings.”
In addition to the lasting impact on the freshman class, many of the mentors also gain a lot from the day. They too, hear the stories and listen to the videos and are able to reflect on the experience.
Although they are the mentors in this situation, listening to the hardships and experiences that many have endured reminds them of what must change; by taking on such leadership roles, the student mentors at Names Day actively create a better community.
Brooke Clancy, a junior mentor stated: “this day is awesome. I am so happy to be a part of this and I feel like this day has really paid off.” Names Day continues to positively affect everyone involved- the freshman, and the mentors- and positive change stems from the event every year.