Concord High School’s Be the Change Club has been a safe space and lifeline for students at the school, and the Concord Monitor published a piece on the program. Many of the students have emigrated from other countries, and some are refugees from war-torn areas.
Here’s an excerpt, but the full story is worth a read:
[The Be the Change Club] promotes inclusion through weekly lunches on cultural communication, panel discussions with new American students and an international night.
But it’s more than just a club, members said. It’s a lifeline for students who have come from other parts of the world – many trying to learn English – and attempting to get a foothold in their new school.
“Honestly, if Be the Change Club didn’t exist, I would have either graduated early as a junior or dropped out,” said Lidia Yen, a native of South Sudan.
The physical area where the students meet serves as a safe place where they can talk, bond and feel at home. On a blackboard in the room hangs a map of the world with pushpins from each student’s home country, each connected by a string to a pushpin in Concord.
Moses Seba said the club was crucial in his adjustment to Concord High School.
“It made me get by anxiety because I knew I wasn’t alone in this issue,” he said. “I met with other people who were in the same boat as me, and it gave me confidence that whatever future awaits, I can face it with my friends.”
“At first, when I came here, this school seemed so big to me,” Claudine Umurutasate said. “When I came here I spoke zero English. … It was kind of scary to go where they speak a different language than yours.”
Several graduating students will attend college in the fall, heading to Keene State College, Plymouth State University, and Harvard University:
Moses Seba, originally from Zambia, will head to Keene State College this fall to study biotechnology and chemical engineering.
“I wanted to help out people with certain genetic disabilities such as our former principal Mr. Connolly, who suffered from ALS,” he said. “As a result, that kind of inspired me and made me geared towards that branch of science.”