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U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Through classes, art teachers aim to grow art appreciation

Encouraging cultural awareness: Affinity groups collaborate on schoolwide assembly

Guest+speaker+Michelle+Hoereth%2C+assistant+provost+and+a+leader+in+DEI+initiatives+at+the+University+of+Chicago%2C+spoke+about+different+forms+of+activism+at+the+school-wide+assembly+on+Jan.+11.
Kaden Moubayed
Guest speaker Michelle Hoereth, assistant provost and a leader in DEI initiatives at the University of Chicago, spoke about different forms of activism at the school-wide assembly on Jan. 11.

Young Men of Color and Young Women of Color hosted a school-wide assembly to discuss cultural awareness, cultural appropriation and representation in the media, with the Lab community on Jan. 11. 

To build off the work of Latinos Unidos, the “Being Culturally Aware: A Form of Activism” assembly began with a land acknowledgement, and featured two guest speakers and a student panel.

This year was the first year YMOC and YWOC combined for a January assembly. While YWOC usually holds an assembly in March for Women’s history month, YWOC co-president Kaavya Peddinti said the reason for combining was to broaden the range of topics and to have the assembly midway through the year.

“Our collaboration represents the larger unison we want to continue between different affinities in our community,” Kaavya said. “We present this in solidarity. To set the framework for this assembly, we would like for you all to keep in mind the question: ‘What does cultural awareness mean to you?’” 

2020 alumna Léa Runesha, who served as the Black Students’ Association president during her time at U-High, continued the theme of cultural awareness and identity with a personal story about her experience as a first-generation American and her Rwandan ethnicity. Through her experience, Ms. Runesha encouraged the U-High community to learn more about others’ experiences and to not let ignorance prevent anyone from exploration. 

“These experiences reinforce the idea that continuous learning is a lifelong pursuit, rather than a temporary action. My message to you all today is that you continue to ask those seemingly stupid questions and learn, than to remain ignorant by never asking at all,” Ms. Runesha said. “I hope we can all strive for a future where cultural awareness is not just a personal journey, but a collective effort — a place where our differences are celebrated.” 

Kaavya and Christian Martinez, YMOC co-president, moderated a student panel of Audrey Park, Santana Romero, Mahi Shah, Myles Cobb and Taariq Ahmed. All of the panelists stressed the importance of finding an issue you’re passionate about and committing to it: high school students can have much more impact on the greater community.

Guest speaker Michelle Hoereth, assistant provost and a leader in DEI initiatives at the University of Chicago, spoke about different forms of activism. Ms. Hoereth believes leadership can exist in many different forms other than protest. Music and art are equally effective ways to stand up for what you believe in.

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About the Contributors
Victoria Washington, Opinion Editor
Victoria Washington is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the Opinion Editor. She joined the journalism team in fall 2021 during her ninth grade year. Her favorite story she's written for the U-High Midway is “Artist raises $2,000 to restore Bronzeville mural.” She enjoys journalism because it provides an opportunity to communicate with others from different departments and see new perspectives. Aside from journalism, she enjoys historical fashion and watching documentaries. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, commentary writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, news writing
Kaden Moubayed, Photographer
Kaden Moubayed is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as an editor-in-chief for photojournalism. He joined the staff in the 2022-23 school year. His favorite part of photojournalism is taking pictures of sports events. Outside of photojournalism, Kaden is a competitive soccer player and enjoys spending time with friends and family. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, photography portfolio 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, first-year photo

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