I recently had the incredible opportunity to work with Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, VT. My visit was organized and championed by a phenomenal young leader, a Woodstock student named Holli Olson. The goal was to empower more people in the community with the tools to be agents of positive change to prevent negative culture/climate and bullying.
These are the kinds of schools I most love to work with, communities where students are the drivers of positive social change. That’s not to say I don’t love it when the teachers or administration or parents are committed to building an inclusive community, but when students are working to improve their community, you really see powerful results.
In addition to a few assemblies that I led at Woodstock, we conducted a UPstander Intervention Training with students. During that training, some of the students were discussing what it would look like to change the social norms at Woodstock so that it were seen as more socially acceptable to be positive and uplifting rather than negative and mean. We discussed the need to get a critical mass of students on board, and we brainstormed what this kind of change could actually look like.
It was during this training that the students came up with the idea for The Hive at Woodstock. Hoping to combat some of the negativity they see on social media, they wanted to combat it directly by creating a positive social media presence. By having a positive, affirming presence both in person and online at the school, the students thought they might be able to actually make headway in building a more inclusive school environment.
Since my visit, I’d been checking in with some of the students about the work they’re doing, and it seems that they’ve been able to maintain some momentum, which is great.
Then this came across my social media the other day:
It’s stories like that of The Hive at Woodstock that keeps us doing what we do at CivilSchools, knowing that we can empower communities with the simple tools they need to have a powerful impact.