Giving students a voice: What has A Positive Place accomplished this school year?

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Sid Sharma

A Positive Place has given students a voice in diversifying PV.

Sid Sharma, Feature Editor

A Positive Place is a club led by teachers and students at PVHS that is dedicated to diversifying the school and improving the school’s social environment to treat people of all backgrounds with respect.

George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, was a reminder of the police brutality Black people face in the United States. It was a reminder of the racial divide in America. This event prompted PVHS staff and students to take action this school year to ease the divide locally and create an environment of learning and empowerment.

The club first started with gathering students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds  to hear their stories and what they want to see change at PV. They met every couple of weeks to discuss issues that are of importance to them and reviewed the social environment at the high school.

A Positive Place has implemented meaningful change in the district. They worked with PV Communications Director Beth Marsoun to add google translate to the school website for those who may have a language barrier and diversified the 2021-2022 school calendar by reflecting holidays that are important to PV families.

The librarian of the high school, Carissa McDonald, believes A Positive Place has grown because of the determination of its members. “We know that sometimes change comes too slowly, but our group is committed, and we have very thoughtful and motivated individuals who truly want to make school a better place for everyone,” she expressed. 

McDonald also mentioned the group has grown in the quality of their discussion and their ability to take action steps such as contacting local religious leaders to learn about important holidays of their faith.

They have outlined more actions to take next school year such as filling up the white walls of PVHS with color and meaningful messages to diversify and beautify the building. One major area of focus the club  would like to address is American history that has been left out of textbooks. PV Junior Lila Teitle believes schools can do better to diversify their curriculum.

“I am hoping we can begin to address the issues with our school’s curriculum, including its lack of history relating to indigenous groups and other minorities. The things students learn about are essential to their understanding of the world, and we must begin educating kids about our nation’s diverse history,” she explained.

While the group will say goodbye to seniors who are graduating this year, Teitle will be a senior next school year and hopes to seek empowerment from her peers. “Personally, I feel that I have grown significantly from listening to the stories of other members and how they see the world based on their life experiences,” she said.

The group also has an instagram account @pvpositiveplace. They hope to use it to communicate with students and reach out to those who want to gain more knowledge about their work.

Pleasant Valley’s A Positive Place is a large step towards necessary discussion in a nation where harsh rhetoric and racism is plaguing its people. Their work highlights the ideas of listening and empowering their peers to make meaningful change in their community.