Conner DiPaolo
Copy Editor

“This is a place for everybody to belong,” wrote Tommy Tar in a BRIDGES poster.

The upcoming April BRIDGES’ Power of Words Month which plans to create awareness about bullying in an effort to stop it. Besides just displaying posters around the school, the BRIDGES program is making announcements everyday to remind students of the purpose of this month’s aim.

“Throughout the month we are hoping to raise awareness about the effects that words have on people and to combat negative stereotypes and discrimination through the positive power of words,” said advisor Mrs. Pogue, “I unfortunately think bullying is present on all high school campuses.  NHHS staff and administrators work very hard to make this campus as safe as it can be, but BRIDGES' campaigns are just another step in the right direction of making the campus a safer, more inclusive environment.”

Of the 40 or so relentless students that regularly attend the weekly meetings that take place during Thursday’s lunch in Mrs. Pogue’s room, sophomore Caroline Quigg is one of the BRIDGES leaders that try to actively improve their campus by additionally frequenting leadership meetings to discuss BRIDGES improvement and current issues.

“I believe that by attending the weekly leadership boards I can contribute to ideas for activities and campaigns,” says Quigg.

Another BRIDGES leader, Jose Avonce joined BRIDGES this year when he went to the first meeting and enjoyed what he saw, deciding to continue on a path that would eventually land him a leadership position.

“I like that you are fighting against the regular stereotypes that follow the different cultures. I have experienced racial jokes and remarks so I think that this is an issue we need to address,” said Avonce, “Mrs. Pogue had told me about the club and I went to the first meeting, learned about what [the club] was about, and really liked it.”

BRIDGES is a Newport Harbor club founded on the basis of increasing tolerance and decreasing bullying and hate in campus life. Led by English teacher Mrs. Pogue, the club hosts multiple events and fundraisers throughout the year.

In an additional effort by BRIDGES, Newport Harbor High school has been co-hosting retreats to push students to understand each other’s feelings and ideals about common issues as well as brainstorming ideas for things the school could improve upon.

On March 26, a group of about 20 students gathered in the social hall to address their feelings about issues on campus and understand the general population’s views, as well. Starting out playing games to get to know one another, the retreat soon progressed to open discussions about national controversial issues from bullying to gay marriage. To end the retreat, the students all made lists of the things on campus that need to be improved, like the sanitation of the bathrooms, the prominence of cliques on campus, and the apathy of Newport Harbor students.

Students participating missed all of their B day classes, and were recommended to join by teachers; especially English teachers. Many students participated in an effort to miss their classes, but the “retreat” ended up rewarding them through a better understanding of Harbor students as a whole.

Leave a Reply.