Students discuss ‘climate change’

Contingents from Berkshire League schools address how to make schools better places

Students+participate+in+a+school+climate+summit+recently+held+at+Mills%2C+the+second+gathering+of+its+kind+held+for+Berkshire+League+schools.
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Students discuss ‘climate change’

Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

Courtesy Stephanie Cowger

Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

Courtesy Stephanie Cowger

Courtesy Stephanie Cowger

Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

Sam Dorman, Contributing writer

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“Welcome to Mills!”

Lining the entryway, the LSM Link Crew expressed a warm welcome as they ushered in the 2nd Berkshire League School Climate Summit on April 25. The lime green mass of Mills’ Link Crew t-shirts meshed with the orange worn by the students of Terryville, the first school contingent to arrive. 

 

The summit aims to bring together the Berkshire League schools to build connections and empower student leadership while creating a “positive impact on school climate.” Student leadership organizations, many student council groups, sent around 30 students from each school. In attendance were Terryville, Gilbert, Northwestern, Housatonic, Wamogo, Nonnewaug, and Thomaston.

Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

Associate Principal Dr. Katie Blore led Mills’ hosting of this year’s summit, hoping to bring what she learned from last year’s event at Northwestern to the one hosted this year at Mills.

Blore emphasized that students are the focus of the event, explaining: “[The] schools get together and build capacity for student leadership, [this] makes connections for students across the league.”

Together, Blore and the student senate, a group of around ten students selected by administration, worked to organize events and workshops throughout the day.

“We’ve worked on this for many months,” says junior Taylor Tantaquidgeon, who explained that the most time-consuming tasks included organizing the agenda and setting up workshops. Before the summit got underway, Tantaquidgeon predicted, “I think we are all going to have a great time.”

In each session, students discussed diversity and equity, social awareness, school spirit and made outside connections that they garnered to bring back to their respective schools – including ideas for the “Kindness in Motion” project. In “Kindness in Motion,” each school is designated a $600 grant to use toward school climate solutions.

“This was my favorite part at last year’s summit,” Tantaquidgeon shared. “We’ve worked on keeping the community warm with blankets, student recognition projects (and more).”

Through these problem-solving sessions, schools share climate concerns they feel should be addressed.

“Last year, we really saw that all the schools had similar problems,” explain Terryville Senior Jacob Zappone. Issues facing awareness and diversity were among the top concerns.

Stephanie Cowger/School Bell
Students participate in a school climate summit recently held at Mills, the second gathering of its kind held for Berkshire League schools.

“Turns out our school really isn’t that different,” Terryville senior Madison Maske added.

While Lewis Mills will be departing from the Berkshire League, Blore says that they hope to expand the summit to the northwest corner schools.

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