Rams Blitz Inspires Student Leaders from Normandy and Affton | Hear Their Stories
Apr 4, 2014
Over the past 7 months, Normandy and Affton High School students have participated in the Rams Blitz Program, in which they dealt with subjects such as stereotypes, teamwork, character-building, leadership, diversity, and inclusion, among many others.
It was immediately obvious that prior to this program, many students did not know much about the students from the other school. And, at the first session, it was clear that the students had many different assumptions about each other.
To learn more about the student experiences in the program, and how their perspectives changed throughout Rams Blitz, Diversity Awareness Partnership, St. Louis Rams and CHARACTERplus develop a blog competition in which we asked them:
• Prior to the program, what assumptions did you – personally – have about other students or about the program itself?
• What were some of your favorite experiences throughout the program?
• What new concepts did you learn and how did they help change your assumptions?
• What impact will this program have on you as a student leader, moving forward?
We received many great applications, but we could only select two! Learn more about the Rams Blitz Program through the stories of West Lindor (Affton High School) and Jessi Watson (Normandy High School).
Winning Blog Post from Affton High School, written by West Lindor
Prior to participating in Rams Blitz, I wasn’t really sure of what to expect from engaging in a program with different students. I wasn’t sure if I should be sociable, ecstatic, or even apathetic. My social and ecstatic side planned on talking to multiple kids about sports, music, and etc. But my apathetic side wasn’t sure if we would be accepted because of the gap between race, location, and educational opportunities. Gratefully my classmates and I embraced the Rams Blitz organization and we were exposed to a new environment in a positive manner. Normandy and Affton played multiple trust building games, participated in diversity issues, and we also sacked some stereotypical thoughts that have been unfortunately provoked through assumptions. My greatest experience throughout Rams Blitz was visiting Normandy and having a major discussion over society. As a whole, we attacked society’s flaws and compared our everyday similarities and life experiences. As expected, we all shared many interests and the only obstacle that hindered our bonding was simply our locations. This obstacle can easily be hurdled by planned outings and contacting each other via text, or any social media website. The most crucial aspect that I learned from Rams Blitz was that cultural, racial, and ethical values simply cannot isolate a community. These aspects allowed me to never assume things just from observation alone, but to embrace differences and try to fix them. Neglect, hatred, and ignorance are the only barriers that can intercept the link between Normandy and Affton. Thankfully, both schools have been able to set aside their differences through Rams Blitz and we can resolve our issues together. In the future I will use the knowledge learned from Rams Blitz so that I can lead not follow. This spectacular organization has changed me into a different person and in the future, I will stand up for what I have learned and not be ashamed of it.
Winning Blog Post from Normandy High School, written by Jessi Watson
Being a part of the Rams Blitz Program made me realize a lot about myself. I never really imagined myself getting alone with people the opposite skin color as me. I realized that just because someone’s skin color isn’t the same as mines don’t make them different from me.
I feel like they choose the perfect schools for this program, with all of our differences we were able to get along better than I expected. Afton is mainly an all-white school and Normandy is mainly an all-black school. Personally I didn’t think this was going to go well because Normandy had just lost a game against Afton like a week before the program started and I didn’t know how we would act towards each other.
When I first met some of the students at Afton I just assumed that they wouldn’t like us because of what they might have heard about Normandy. I liked the fact that we got the chance to express our opinions about Normandy and Afton. It really sickens me to know that people think Normandy is filled with violent students and some of the things that people say about Normandy and Afton are nothing but rumors. Normandy students aren’t violent and Afton students aren’t racist. It warmed my heart to hear the students at Afton say that we are some of the sweetest students they’ve met. This program taught me to “never judge a book by its cover”.
My favorite experience throughout this whole program was when we first met. This was my favorite part because it was nothing like I imagined. We all got alone and became very comfortable with each other. I learned that a lot of us had a lot in common; most of us there were athletics.
The Rams Blitz program will always have an impact on my life because I will never forget what I learned during this experience. I learned to hold conversations with people I barely knew, and that I can always use in life because I’m always going to run into people I don’t know. I just wish my whole school could have been a part of this program then maybe they’d look at things differently and wouldn’t feel like the world is against Normandy, cause being with Afton I didn’t feel left out or different in any way. I’m glad I got the chance to be a part of the Rams Blitz Program. Honestly this has been my favorite memory of my Senior Year so far.
Congratulations to this year’s blog competition winners! We look forward to reading next year’s blog competition entries when Rams Blitz restarts in the Fall of 2014.
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