World Cafe attempts to tackle school-wide problems

April 4, 2018 — by Selena Liu and Jackson Green

Approximately 60 staff members, students and parents filed into the library on March 29 to attend the biannual World Cafe, where they had the chance to eat good food while engaging in conversations about important school-related topics.

“World Cafe is a community event sponsored by the school, where we talk about topics that have become either high-interest or high-need, and have discussions that are needed in the community,” assistant vice principal Kerry Mohnike said. “It’s an opportunity for people to sit around a small table, have a conversation, share those thoughts out, and then come up with ideas to address those issues.”

This year, the main topic of discussion was the results of Speak Up for Change Week, where students reported experiencing bullying because of their ethnicity and academic ability.

To start the event, there were multiple activities in which participants had the chance to talk with a variety of other people in the room.

“I thought it was a very enlightening experience because we were able to uncover the many negative aspects of high school, mainly things like peer pressure and bullying,” sophomore George Bian said.

Next, participants sat down at multiple small tables and discussed their views on stereotypes and peer pressure.

“At this school, there is an overwhelming sense that people have to achieve academically to be considered valuable, and that’s just not true,” Mohnike said.

Parental pressure was another topic that arose.

“There’s an expression a lot of people use, ‘Are you preparing your child for the path, or are you preparing the path for your child?’” said Spanish teacher Bret Yeilding, a participant at World Cafe. “I feel like many Saratoga parents want to prepare the path for their child so that nothing bad ever happens to their child. This is not realistic in life.”

Overall, the event was “extremely successful,” Mohnike said. “There were a lot of excellent conversations and I think a lot of barriers were broken. We were able talk about a lot of things that people often don’t want to talk about.”

 

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