By: Julia Moyer
Living Our Motto (LOM) is a new initiative at Hammond that started at the end of last school year by students and staff. Our school’s motto is “Where People are Important.” Recognizing that Hammond is a very diverse school in not only race and ethnicity but also belief systems, abilities, and more, LOM’s goal is, “ to move Hammond as close as we can to a place where that motto actually is a reality for every person who walks through our doors,” said Danielle Dunn, a staff advisor of LOM.
Photo Credit Julia Moyer
LOM was created after student discussions occurred both within and outside of Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) about targeted bullying and judgement that has been going on within the school. “I think overall Hammond is pretty good but there is still a little bit that is happening for certain groups. Recognizing that, we wanted to do something about it, we needed to make some changes,” Dunn said.
LOM had two work group sessions over the summer to conduct the starting steps. The first step was to create and mission statement and identify what the goals of the team were. Living Our Motto’s mission statement is
To make everyone of how they identify themselves along with their abilities and disabilities, so that everyone feels equal and safe in order to create a diverse and welcoming community.
Student member Sydney Finger, a current junior says,” we are still developing it so over the next couple of years it’s going to get better and better. This is the first year doing it so it’s about getting our ideas together.”
LOM has many ideas for activities to bring people together as a Hammond community and potentially reduce bullying. First are acceptance days, “a day one per month about embracing different cultures and groups,” Finger said. Some examples of acceptance days include pride day, religion day, autism awareness day, and language day. On these days, “we are going to work with teachers and just have different things going on that builds some awareness around [the focus]…so in class you might talk about different religions,” Dunn says. The ultimate goal “is to celebrate some of the richness and diversity that is here,” she adds.
In addition to cultural awareness on acceptance days, LOM will host games at lunch. “We are all very excited about game day!,” Finger says, “different tables will have different games so people can come together and play together and that will help them bond and get to know each other.”
A student member, junior Rachel Osei says the goal of LOM is to “open more opportunities for students, grow stronger connections with teachers and students and increase the love and value for the school by students.”
The Living Our Motto team hopes to make its goals a reality at Hammond in the coming years. More information about their initiatives will be forthcoming during Beartime on September 25th. If anyone is interested in joining, contact Ms. Dunn. LOM welcomes new members or anyone that would like to provide information and opinions to them.