Speaking out for change

The Speak Out club is one of the new club editions this year and was created by sophomore and co-president of the club Alysza Eddy. The club was created to make student needs more apparent in the minds of administrators and aims to improve the conditions for students at DHS. 


“I kind of want to do what a student council would do, identify issues that a lot of people see in the school like lack of mental health support, pushing achievement, over actual learning,” Eddy said. “ I guess, in our current school culture, I feel like there’s an issue in what the values are for the school and what they should do for people who actually want to learn. So I feel like trying to make an effort to change that culture and to get more people on board with creating a change.”


This goal is currently the main focus of Speak Out, as they are attempting to organize an event for staff and students to bring some of these issues into the spotlight. The club plans on bringing in guest speakers to discuss various areas that Speak Out wants to address at DHS. 


“One of the reasons we feel like we need this is because of this perfectionistic culture, but also because we have one student support counselors stretched throughout MHS and DHS for all of those students, and it is not good, because teenagers need support,” Eddy said. “We’re not being given that support.”


The club members themselves thrive on supporting each other, and this mindset has made the bond between many of the members of the club strong. A sense of unity is what allows many of these members to come together and try to make a change. 


“I’ve gotten fairly close with them,” junior and co-president Abigail Good said. “I didn’t know them very well when the year started. But we’ve gotten really close.”


Speak Out is not a very large club in itself, with a very limited number of members in the club. Many members feel like this can act as a way to bond with members of the club, but it does create more responsibility for members with a leadership role in the club. 


“There’s not a lot of us,” Good said. “There’s, like every single one of us pretty much has a leadership position because there’s just not that many of us.”


That does not change the determination that the members of Speak Out have. The club was created to address several issues students have, and advisor of the club and history teacher Jefferey Richards agrees with this as well as he mostly leaves the decisions up to the students. 


“He’ll interject something or be like ‘Oh hey, you guys should talk to this person,’” Good said. “He’s been really instrumental in setting up our meeting with Sharrow and getting our names out there and giving us contacts like Mr. Shaheen. Mr. Richards gave us his contact and it just kind of helped us reach out to more adults that could help us. But for the most part, he just sits at his desk doing his own work.”


Speak Out continues to work towards their goal of making DHS more friendly to students’ well-being. Whether it is by guest speakers, or events to bring different issues Speak Out feels needs to be addressed, they are determined to make a change.


“If you see all these people who have straight A’s and are doing awesome, and that’s what’s pushed at the school, and that’s what the school climate is based around,” Eddy said. “You’re going to be like ‘Oh, why am I not like that? Why am I not perfect? Why am I not getting straight A’s? Why am I not in 17 extracurriculars and band choir orchestra? Why am I not doing all these things everybody else is doing?’ But in reality, you only need to be what you want. I feel like that’s not anything that is pushed at school and it’s setting really harmful expectations and not meeting those expectations.”

CHOOSING CHANGE: Co-presidents Alysza Eddy (front), and Abigail Good (right) hold a discussion with club members Adrian Oikarinen (left), and Lilah Johnson at Speak Out’s Mar. 9 meeting.
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Hayden Culver

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