Speak Up for Change week theme to be Escaping the Mask We Live In

December 12, 2018 — by Howard Tang

Last year, students flowed out of the Large Gym in a trail of tears after they listened to alumnus Solomon Bailey’s touching speech during the Speak Up for Change assembly about Breaking Barriers. This year, on the week of Jan. 21, the Outreach commission hopes to replicate their impact with the theme “Escaping the Mask We Live In.”

A mandatory school assembly during an extended tutorial will kick off the weeklong event. Four student speakers talk about some of their experiences overcoming their insecurities. Students who signed up using the online form on the school Facebook group will undergo a selection process facilitated by the outreach commissioners.

Additionally, a teacher panel will share their stories about similar topics during the assembly. During the week, several activities will be organized to help foster a community of acceptance.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, activities will be set up in the quad examining the topic of insecurities. For example, students can write down their frustrations on a confessions poster.

“The poster serves as an anonymous outlet after the assembly so students can debrief afterwards,” outreach commissioner Iman Laique said.  “When people speak out about things so raw and real, it can be difficult to hear as well as eye opening. The poster activity is a way for students to share things about themselves and maybe even read something that they didn’t know someone else was experiencing.”

On Friday, a fair will be held during tutorial and lunch where Saratoga alumni and Stanford graduate, Nikhil Goel, will be talking about the expectations of college and how he overcame them.

Afterwards, cultural and language clubs will be in the quad sharing aspects of international communities so that students can learn about other cultures and embrace their own.

“More than anything, our goal is to build on Breaking Down the Walls and connect the student body on that deeper level, so we can be kinder and more understanding of our peers and ourselves,” Laique said.

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