On May 31, the D.R.E.A.M. (Diversity Reaching Everyone Across all Minds) Team, a group dedicated to bringing cultural awareness and respect to Mt. Hebron, will be debuting a video that they produced to show current and rising Mt. Hebron students who we are as a community. Partnering with Principal Dr. Andrew Cockley and the school administration, the D.R.E.A.M. Team intends to highlight and celebrate Mt. Hebron’s diversity through this project.
The group, which was formed during the 2016-2017 school year in response to racist remarks made by a then-senior student, orchestrated last year’s high-profile walkout and other demonstrations.
Co-founder and sophomore Kaia Godsey said, “The purpose of our group is to bring cultural awareness to Howard County. The D.R.E.A.M. Team started last year to form the walkout and then became a real group afterwards. We saw a need to bring awareness to what was going on last year.”
Senior Angela Scafidi, another member of the D.R.E.A.M. Team, reflected on the video’s purpose.
“One of the most impactful parts of the walkout was when people spontaneously stood up and shared their stories, so we tried to take that and make it into a video,” Scafidi said. “I wasn’t on [the D.R.E.A.M. Team] last year, but they have been advocating for a video or some form of cultural assembly for the past year. Our whole goal and the main purpose of the video is to try to get people to broaden their view and be more accepting of one another.”
After the D.R.E.A.M. team kicked off, they wanted to make big changes in the way Mt. Hebron students acted and reacted. This video helps to show the different views that students took during the walkout and other demonstrations.
Hoping to mirror the energy they observed last year, Godsey said, “We just wanted to create something that could really show the diversity of Hebron, the many faces and many sides. It’s easier to digest something in video form, and we just wanted to show all of the representation that makes up our school.”
The video was first shown to teachers and administrators to get their opinion.
“I was proud of it,” Dr. Cockley said. “I think that was my first reaction. I was proud that students had the energy to see it through. Great ideas often start and stop. I thought it was very courageous for some of the students to say what they said, not knowing how everyone else would receive it, and that’s part of everything that happened last year with the walkout. Students were holding on to their feelings without letting them out.”
While responses to the video were mostly very positive, there was some criticism of the lack of representation for all of the groups that populate Mt. Hebron.
Assistant Principal Dr. William Neugebauer commented, “It didn’t represent everybody, but the diversity there was fairly wide. It included a spectrum. If they were to redo it, there is always room to improve.”
Before production of the video began, the D.R.E.A.M. team tried to reach out to all of the organizations that define Mt. Hebron.
“We reached out to as many people as we could,” Godsey explained. “We put it on the announcements, and we put it out to all clubs and all different kinds of people. It was a little difficult to get people to stay after school because it was the week of spring tryouts, but we tried to include as many people as possible.”
“[The D.R.E.A.M. Team] mentioned during the video that they thought not everyone was included, but I think that everyone had a fair chance of being included,” said Asher Ruck, who is featured in the video.
With the feedback that they got, the D.R.E.A.M. team made the decision to make this an ongoing video series, getting more and more Mt. Hebron students to share their experiences. By the end of the year, the hope is that all Mt. Hebron students current, past and new, will be able to have seen the video.