Members of Hull High School student government and the student group PRISM attended the 2021 Connections Conference for the first time virtually yesterday and declared it a success.
Connections is “a group of Sutton High School students and staff committed to making our school a more welcoming place for all students,” according to its website. The annual conference, attended by students from across the state, is intended to be a forum for the discussion of bias-related issues. The total number of attendees at the March 24 meeting neared 700.
Seven students from Hull attended the conference, both from student government and PRISM, which is a group at HHS dedicated to diversity and tolerance.
HHS student government adviser Stephanie Hillner said the reason the Hull student groups wanted to be at the conference was “to promote equity and learn about issues related to social justice.”
According to Hillner, those students greatly enjoyed the conference. “They were so pumped up. I think overall it went really awesome.”
Dr. Jamila Lyiscott, an activist and poet and the main presenter, spoke about diversifying schools and their instruction. She called for schools to start talking about actual problems and to stop “gaslighting. … I need you all to demand the kind of schools that you deserve.”
She also noted that “decisions about youth without youth are trash. It’s just that simple.”
Lyiscott gave students a step-by-step guide on how to make change in their schools and in their communities. She instructed her listeners that “you will take action with this: with a dream, with a vision, with a question, with some answers.”
After her hourlong talk and a Q&A, students were able to choose from 35-plus workshops, with topics ranging from “Mental Health and Justice” to “The Road to Antiracism.”
Hillner hopes HHS will be able to attend future conferences, even when they are in-person, but conceded that “the logistics are tough to work out” because “we’re so far away.”
Victoria Dolan is school correspondent for The Hull Times.