Through their Senior Capstone project, three students are helping pre-teens strengthen internal relationships between mind and body. By addressing how social media can distort reality, Angela Ekezie, Kweisi Beaty, and Yaritza Cardanas help 7th and 8th grade female students at Our Lady of Rosary develop an awareness of the false images media can provide.
In November, the group put their project into action by presenting to several 8th grade girls. The presentation included a TedTalk video given by model Cameron Russell followed by a discussion about self-image. Over the course of the second semester, the three students hope to strengthen self-confidence in pre-teens through other informational videos along with confidence building activities such as participating in a student-run fashion show.
“I realize that a lot of the things we see on TV and in magazines are false images, and that a lot of those people don’t look like that in person,” Beaty said. “Our goal is to pass on that knowledge and help females not get influenced by the numerous images on social media.”
Transitioning to high school can be a challenging time for girls as they try to fit into an environment saturated by unrealistic perceptions that social media can often paint. Having messages and advice conveyed by students closer in age than teachers, the seniors hope to make the transition more manageable.
“Social media nowadays can be really overwhelming and we want to help them to get a sense of their self, to not let others completely influence them, Cardenas said, “We want to be their ‘older sisters’ and be there for them in case they need anything.”
“I love seeing students get so invested in a social justice issue, and it gives me hope for future generations,” mentor and science teacher Jessica Hanley said. “Tackling the numerous injustices that exist in our community used to seem like a dauntless task, but seeing students take on the Capstone project makes it feel much more achievable.”
Student Support To Be Strengthened Through CJ/OLR Collaboration
While the Capstone team continues to make progress in helping pre-teens form healthy internal relationships between mind and body, Chaminade Julienne and Our Lady of Rosary are entering into an alliance that will allow them to better serve both student populations.
The two schools were the first in the Dayton region to implement the City Connects program in an effort to support students in high school. CJ implemented the program in 2010-11 and Our Lady of Rosary implemented the program in 2009-2010. By personally addressing needs in areas such as academics and family, schools can encourage overall student success and development.
Our Lady of Rosary and CJ participated in the “Walk to the Kroc” during Red Ribbon Week in October. Ekezie, Beaty, and Cardana’s Capstone project highlights the significance how a relationship between a high school and elementary school can be beneficial in ways beyond academics.
“In terms of social issues, young students tend to see their teachers as adults who 'just don't understand' the pressures of being an adolescent,” Hanley said. “However, these high schoolers who are much closer in age to them can relate better. The students see them as ‘cool' and if these cool high schoolers show confidence, then they will want to show confidence too.”
In December, Dan Meixner, CJ president, officially announced the partnership between CJ and OLR in a letter to parents. This partnership will allow for collaboration between the two schools in programming and building relationships between teachers and students.
In the letter explaining the partnership, Meixner stressed the alliance would “provide CJ students with leadership and mentoring experiences while helping OLR students better prepare for success in high school.” This can already be seen illustrated through the Capstone project.
Both CJ and OLR are influenced by the Marianists and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The two orders founded Chaminade Julienne, and teachers from the two orders taught at Our Lady of Rosary in the 20th century. The orders each stress the significance of creating community, and how community can enhance one’s ability to meet world challenges.
“Kweisi, Yaritza and Angela are really learning what it means to be a contributing member of society,” Molly Bardine, head of Capstone, said. “It is exciting to see many of the projects from the class of 2015 be centered on serving the next generation of CJ students. Our Lady of Rosary as well as many other schools have been very welcoming of our students and excited to have them share their research and desire to make an impact on a social justice issue.”