When it comes to a healthy learning environment, positivity can go a long way. And two Shaker High School students played a big role is providing a positive voice at a March positivity assembly at SHS.
Andrea Swenson and Angel Stallings Velez, both juniors, helped bring new depth and emotion to a March 20th positivity assembly put on by the sections of Ms. Matrose’s English classes. It was Andrea’s idea to first reach out to motivational speaker John Bunn and see if he would come speak at the school. Mr. Bunn was jailed for 17 years as a teenager for a crime he did not commit, and was finally exonerated after spending another ten years on parole.
“He struggled and didn’t know what to do because he was so young, and I’ve had tough times so I related, and even though he struggled he managed to make it through it,” said Andrea.
After Andrea got a response from Mr. Bunn, Ms. Matrose says her energy and sincerity helped to inspire her class to believe that they could work to bring him to the school to speak. Andrea co-presented the proposal to the English Department chair and SHS administration to get the necessary approval for Mr. Bunn to appear and also introduced him at the assembly.
Once they got the necessary approval, Angel jumped in to help, helping to plan, organize, and fundraise for Mr. Bunn’s travels. She hung up flyers and made baked goods for a bake sale to raise about $200 for travel expenses. Because of her efforts, the classes were able to hear Mr. Bunn speak.
“It was very emotional hearing him speak, very inspiring,” said Angel.
Because of Andrea and Angel’s hard work and leadership, their classes were able to help Mr. Bunn share his message about the power of positivity and reading. For that, they have been named the North Colonie Kids Care Award winners for the month of May.