ASB assists in 8th Grade Summit at Suzanne Middle School

Associated Student Body (ASB) members and former Suzanne Middle School Peer Assistance and Leadership (PALS) members participated in hosting the annual Eighth Grade Summit at Suzanne Middle School on Sept. 19. The event was aimed at addressing the issue of stereotypes and bullying that is associated with it.

“Obviously at every school, at every age level, there’s going to be a certain amount of bullying. I feel most of the bullying and harm comes from stereotypes. What we’re trying to do this year is to get people to look past the stereotypes and labels so they can really get to know the person and get rid of the whole bullying,” ASB member sophomore Bobby Tafoya said. “I want the eighth graders to open their eyes and see that all these stereotypes and bullying is real. It’s not something to look over. It’s not just in one school, like in Suzanne Middle School or in Walnut High School. It’s a big deal.”

In past years, eighth grade members of PALS hosted the event. However, in order to enable  the PALS members to experience the same experience as their eighth grade peers, the invitation to help run the event was extended to Walnut High School students.

“What happened is we’re really just like role models there. We’re just helping to run the whole thing better. I love breaking barriers and basically putting people at comfort because I can’t stress enough how lonely people really feel and I want to genuinely listen to their personal stories and what they’re going through. I know people always put up a smile, but genuinely they’re just hurting inside,” ASB member senior Ruth Chen said.

Three different stations at different locations, including the multipurpose building, field and classrooms, were available at the event. Activities at each station were designed to break the ice, build teamwork, create a mutual understanding and discuss personal issues.

“The summit is a way to have a genuine and honest day devoted to getting to know their fellow classmates in a deeper way. It gives them a chance to open up to one another. The peers should be able to present themselves as someone they could talk to as a friend yet still respect.” ASB member senior Hannah Lee said. “Since I experienced [the summit], I knew what good things came out of it and wanted to hopefully give the kids the same impactful experience. I devoted a lot of myself to the kids by opening up about myself. It was cool how we all learned from each other and bonded so quickly.”

By Chantel Chan and Brandon Ng, News editors

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