“OneWhitman” initiative begins, builds community


Charlie Sagner

History teacher Danielle Harris leads the first OneWhitman session of the year. OneWhitman, a new initiative this year, seeks to widen student perspectives through discussion.

By Taylor Haber, Education writer

After last year’s race-related incident, administrators designed the “OneWhitman” initiative over the summer to promote diversity and inclusion through classroom discussion. Administration oversaw the first weekly OneWhitman seminar Wednesday. 

The program will take place in homeroom classes for 45 minutes every Wednesday between second and third period.   

“This program includes structures and activities that will allow school community members to build positive relationships and engage in challenging topics,” Principal Robert Dodd wrote in an Aug. 27 email to Whitman families.

Yesterday, students spent the class period playing introductory games, including sharing their favorite hobbies and reflecting on their first few days back in school. 

“It was a good mix of questions to get to know people before we actually dive into hard topics,” senior Deanna Adams said.

Charlie Sagner
Students get to know one another during yesterday’s One Whitman session. They had to describe their first weeks of school and share a share a special skill with the class.

The first several sessions will center around lighter topics. Teachers will focus on building trust between students so later conversations can include more serious topics, assistant principal Phillip Yarborough said. Yarborough is in charge of developing the program.

“It’s our hope that through OneWhitman, our scripted lessons can both address student needs and give teachers the necessary tools to have these crucial conversations,” Yarborough said. “OneWhitman can help to promote open communication on these sensitive topics.”

English teacher Danielle Fus looks forward to strengthening relationships between staff and students through OneWhitman, she said. 

“I’m really excited about the fact that I’ve had these students in my homeroom for the last four years and actually getting to know a little bit about them,” Fus said.

Senior Racheal Adeoti hopes that the Whitman community will become more socially conscious by listening to other people’s perspectives. 

“There is this ‘Whitman bubble’ and people can be quite ignorant and one-sided,” Adeoti said. “I hope this unifies everyone and makes people more open to different perspectives.”