A retreat to the woods with collaboration in mind

The equity retreat to Gwinwood and the future of homerooms


Matt Grant

OHS students take a break from challenging discussions on race and equity to pose for a photo at the Gwinwood retreat center.

Equity, STAND, and other social justice clubs attended a retreat on the 28th of October at the Gwinwood Retreat Center.  Microaggressions were the main topic of the day. Eliminating microaggressions is the focus of future student-led homeroom discussions.

Equity students have been asked to lead some homeroom topics regarding microaggressions and topics of race. They will undergo training and then will be sent to homerooms to talk about these subjects.

Elise Garcia, junior at OHS describes that when people disregard that aspect of homeroom and joke around about it, it’s difficult to respond. “That’s what makes it hard to show yourself at our school because people can be so inconsiderate.”

The equity team is working hard to make topics of race easier to talk about. With future plans in the works, Stacy Udo, librarian at Olympia High School states, “we have done a lot of talking over the past five or six years and that just isn’t enough anymore.”

Homeroom is dedicated to educating students on topics that are important but not generally discussed at any other time during school. These topics may include overcoming obstacles and discussions on race, gender, etc. As important as the topics being brought up in the homeroom are, it is very common to hear students make jokes about homerooms and disregard its importance.

At the retreat, students had many discussions about the difficulty and challenges of talking about race and how it can be hard to communicate feelings about race to people who may not relate or understand.

Ideas were shared on how to be inclusive to all groups and how the younger generation is a big part of making that change. As Udo states, “you guys are the ones to make the change happen and to do it with a sense of urgency and realness.”

This equity retreat, like other meetings, has been a place of collaboration and community amongst its members, which makes the work so much more powerful. 

Sam Hacker, a member of Equity Club, spoke about how Equity really is a good place to share your personal experiences and perspectives in a kind environment. “I think having these meetings is really important because it helps you expand your community and helps you branch out, and have conversations with others.”

Equity is about being inclusive to all groups, the main principle that will shape the future of homeroom.