The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

District event

Learning to Lead Students who participated in the Greater Than One District summit, wrote positive to other attendees and put them on the wall. From left to right are sophomore Alisha McMurtry, freshman Lailyah Duncan, freshman Analia Silva, junior Angel Dawson, sophomore Kevin Mathews. “It was kind of like an honor to be invited, it was cool to see that my teachers chose me to go,” McMurtry said. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Bacon

Bellevue East High School participated in the “Greater Than One District” event on April, 10, 2024 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The event was the second annual Greater than One District, and started with Lincoln Public Schools and Omaha Westside. This year they added 4 additional school districts, welcoming more than 100 students to the event. The four additional districts included Omaha, Elkhorn, Bellevue, and Papillion-La Vista Public Schools. 

“This group really started with Pete Ferguson [Coordinator of Culture, Inclusion, and Scholar Development at Lincoln Public Schools.]  Through LPS they did their Equity Padre then teamed up with Westside and they did an event last year,” Assistant Principal Nathaniel Bacon said. “Then they wanted to expand it to other districts, so they wanted to see who was interested, so we wanted to reach out and jump on board.”

The event was held at the Don Clifton Professional Learning Center. According to KOLN TV, the schools took part in changing the way they discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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“I think the purpose of the event was to branch out and discuss issues in their schools,” sophomore Alisha McMurtry said.

The event included many leadership and team-building activities and discussions. There were many interactive activities that involved students talking to peers and community professionals about various topics on how to elevate student voices.

“I looked around multiple times throughout the event and no one was on their phones,” McMurtry said. “It was interesting to see that because usually at school everyone’s on their phones so it was refreshing to see that people were paying attention and getting engaged.”

Bellevue East selected seven students from various classes to participate in the event and act as student voices for the school. They were nominated from staff members around the school for their leadership. 

“It felt great to be invited to the group because I found out that you get nominated by staff members,” junior Erick Gomez said. “I believe that me and the people down there can make a difference for the freshmen and the incoming freshmen.”

Because the group is so new they have only had a few meetings. These discussions consisted of topics on how to better Bellevue East.

“The group is still kind of growing, but we are trying to get the kids in front of staff members and having staff members hear the students,” Bacon said. “We’ve talked about what things they would like to see throughout the building and also how to celebrate different cultures, ethnicities, religions throughout the building so people can feel heard, valued and understood.”

Taking students from each class to voice their opinions on the school helps work toward the purpose of the group. According to ThoughtExchange, an AI engagement and experience platform, promoting student voices enhances engagement, builds trust with teachers, addresses equity, and contributes to student success.

“The purpose of this group is to promote change within the district within the greater than one district group,” Bacon said. “It’s really about students taking charge, students having a voice in their school in their community.” 

In the future, the group hopes to expand. Bacon and school counselor Kacie Anderson  are both the leaders of the group and are looking for students who have a voice and want to promote change. 

“Moving forward we might do an application process or an interest form, and we want to make sure we have representation of each class,” Bacon said. “We look for those change makers that have a strong voice, somebody who’s willing to provide their expertise, their ideas, and that are interested in being a part of or growing a group  that leads to important changes that build culture, community, and equity.”

Next year the group encourages people to want to be a part of the change and look for the change to come. Besides the resume benefits, students also get to be a part of a positive environment with lots of their peers.

“I think I’ll participate next year because it will look good on my resume,” sophomore Kevin Matthews said. “It’s really cool; I enjoy the group. It has a lot of fun and diverse people in it and I think if we get enough people to join we can make an impact throughout the district.”

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About the Contributor
Lailyah Duncan, Reporter
Hey! I’m Lailyah and I am a reporter for the Tom Tom. I feel like this is a good role for me because I enjoy writing a lot. In my offtime I like to make clothes and chill out in my off time!

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