East Interact Club hosts annual Unity Day


East students participate in East’s annual Unity Day hosted by Interact Club.

Cherry Hill High School East recently held its annual Unity Day on Friday, January 14th, 2022, at the start of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The event’s key speakers were Kyra and Melissa Holiday, who spoke on issues regarding the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized communities. It was a discussion about the various issues minorities face at Cherry Hill High School East and in the rest of the world. The event focused on how the school itself could improve in helping different groups. It looked into how the school could better accommodate people who are non-binary or transgender, as well as people with IEPs and 504 plans.

One student, Finn Yeary said this to say about the event “They also did a really good job at educating people on certain things. They clearly knew what they were talking about.” This makes sense considering both guest speakers are very knowledgeable about this topic, considering their careers intertwine with these topics.

One of the more interesting parts of the event, in my opinion, was when we were split into groups and given a marker and construction paper. We were then tasked with brainstorming 10 ways that the school could make changes if it allowed itself to become better. Some ideas students brought up were really good and could help a lot of people if they were implemented. The ideas focused on how East could better meet the mental health needs of its students. They also discussed how the East community could show more overall positivity throughout the school year. The ideas of the students also touched on other ideas that affect East students.

On this part of the activity, Yeary said “everyone [got a chance] to speak [about] their own opinions on certain topics and the current school system.” This rang true because, from what I saw, this event provided a safe space to talk about issues with the school system without being punished or otherwise being made to feel that their concerns were not valid.

After 75 minutes of good discussion, the event took a break for pizza, cookies, and soda, a trifecta of good food. The theme of this Unity Day was digging deeper. I think this event accomplished its goal of doing that very well. Instead of having boring surface-level conversations about East, the group was able to speak about the issues that were really bothering them. Regardless of where it happens, those types of conversations are powerful. Overall, I enjoyed this event and will likely go if they have it next year.