NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Drury High School students were greeted at school Friday morning by members of the community as part of Community Welcome Day.
City Councilor Michael Obasohon welcomed the students with his keynote address in which he emphasized the importance of identity, diversity, and service as a means to build a strong community.
He reminded students to "make space for themselves at the table" even if there appears to be no room and to "get comfortable with being uncomfortable" as a way to make sure their voices are heard. He encouraged the students to "lean in" to their community and they did just that as they went off to their service blocks.
Some students boarded buses and went out into the community to do some cleanup efforts in local areas, others went off to the three North Adams elementary schools and to read to kindergarteners and first graders.
Students trained through the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference Institute and led a lesson around identity with the sixth graders and talked about the importance of recognizing and celebrating differences.
Drury's band and band front toured the city giving performances at both local schools and businesses. Other students stayed on campus and worked in the community gardens with Jen Munoz, packed "Boxes of Love" filled with necessities for veterans with Patty Erdeski, received cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Stop the Bleed training from local emergency responders, crafted cards for local cancer patients and people in nearby nursing homes, made friendship bracelets to share with others, and took on school beautification projects.
In the afternoon, students celebrated their efforts with their first pep rally of the year. Students designed and executed the pep rally, which included Zumba, tug-of-war competitions, a dance off, class cheers, and even schoolwide conga line. It was a great day had by students and staff alike. Drury started with hello and ended with a real sense of community.
"I am so proud of our students," said Principal Stephanie Kopala. "Today, our kids gave back to the community, inspired others to do the same, helped make a complete stranger's day with Boxes of Love or a handwritten note of encouragement, and along the way strengthened the community and pride of our school.
Drury is a special place, our kids are special, and today, the community got to experience the joy and hard work our students show us each day."
When asked about the pep rally at the end of the day, Kopala said, "Everyone had a great time. It was heartwarming to see students interacting and having fun with new people, dancing together as a whole school and cheering each other on. It was the best pep rally we've had in a long time and that speaks to the inclusive culture at our school."
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