Uniting LHS

At+a+recent+LHS+United+meeting%2C+seniors+Jennifer+Graham+Leal+and+Jaimee+Johnson%2C+an+LHS+United+board+member%2C+share+a+laugh+while+discussing+how+to+raise+awareness+and+celebrate+diversity+at+LHS.
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Uniting LHS

At a recent LHS United meeting, seniors Jennifer Graham Leal and Jaimee Johnson, an LHS United board member, share a laugh while discussing how to raise awareness and celebrate diversity at LHS.

At a recent LHS United meeting, seniors Jennifer Graham Leal and Jaimee Johnson, an LHS United board member, share a laugh while discussing how to raise awareness and celebrate diversity at LHS.

Rachel Dudley

At a recent LHS United meeting, seniors Jennifer Graham Leal and Jaimee Johnson, an LHS United board member, share a laugh while discussing how to raise awareness and celebrate diversity at LHS.

Rachel Dudley

Rachel Dudley

At a recent LHS United meeting, seniors Jennifer Graham Leal and Jaimee Johnson, an LHS United board member, share a laugh while discussing how to raise awareness and celebrate diversity at LHS.

Luke Ekdahl, Staff Writer

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Within the past two years, a relatively new club has taken on an even newer meaning. This club is LHS United, which is dedicated to both embracing and appreciating the importance of an individual’s culture, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and individuality, while uniting all students from all backgrounds in LHS.

Originally founded last year by several seniors, and called Amnesty International before that, more students have recently joined and the club is in the planning stages for next year.

LHS United recognizes “rather than different, we are united and we are connected: LHS society and Libertyville,” said Ms. Regina Odishoo, a speech and language therapist and co-advisor of LHS United. She added that they want to unite “the different races, genders, religions and cultures, because there is more than ethnicity that divides people.”

Ms. Julia West, an LHS social worker and another co-advisor of LHS United, noted that the core value of LHS United is to “unite us together as one and accept us for our differences.”

Both Ms. Odishoo and Ms. West said that currently the club is mostly focused on planning next year’s events; however, anyone is welcome to join this year or next at any time. They are planning on running some fundraisers, lunchtime awareness activities and some student and teacher presentations within the club.

During first semester, they started some of these activities with a poster for students to sign outside the lunchroom. This semester, they made a Wakeup Wildcats video, hoping to bring more recognition to the club.

“We had a poster that people signed at lunchtime, connecting us, that said ‘LHS United: if you are united, or you are feeling that we can all be together despite our differences, sign this poster,’” Ms. West said.

Ellie Cho, an LHS junior and member of the leadership board for LHS United, said that “right now, we are planning for next year, so we are planning on having events, fundraisers, Wakeup Wildcat videos and student presentations.” She further elaborated on the presentations, saying, “For example, I would present on my culture. And it doesn’t have to be just culture, it can be anything: Religion, sexual orientation, or being a woman.”

Aditi Medra, another LHS junior and member of the LHS United board, commented, “We have been planning for fundraisers or getting speakers to talk about different cultural or ethnic or race issues, and we are just planning right now for next year…And also, we are going to do fundraisers to donate to things like NAACP and organizations like that.”

Ms. Odishoo added that when they say that LHS United is a diversity club, they do not just mean ethnicity; it means any differences. “When we talk about the diversity, we are also talking about the financial diversity, the socio economic differences, and seeing that we are connected regardless of that,” she said.

Both Ms. Odishoo and Ms. West said that the club is open to new members, with Ms. Odishoo adding, “We would like to see it as a place where people start to feel connected and embraced for who they are but connected to other people as well.”

The club is currently deciding on a day of the week to hold meetings next year, and students who are interested should contact Ms. Odishoo or Ms. West for information on club dates starting in the fall of 2017.

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