by Perri Williams ‘23
Last school year during virtual learning, students received a homeroom lesson that focused on anti-racism and equality. At the end of the lesson, a survey asked students if they wanted to learn more about the issues raised in the lesson. Sherwood health and PE teacher Heather Giovenco then emailed the students who answered yes, asking if they were interested in creating a new club with her. Her goal when creating this club was to change the culture at Sherwood by listening to the student voice. Warriors for Change is a club that focuses on teaching tolerance and spreading awareness about social justice issues.
“The power of Warriors for Change is that we believe in the power of intersectionality of issues. The best way to describe it is you gather more followers by supporting each other, rather than just trying to do it on your own.” said Giovenco, who is currently getting her masters in social justice.
The social groups that the club focuses on include race, religion, culture, gender, sexuality and more. The club is made up of team captains, chairmen, and logistics positions. There are three team captains who work with club members to make sure their voices are heard. The captain positions include: race/religion/culture (junior Timaya Pulliam), gender/sexuality (junior Maalini Srinivsan), and mental illness/ableism/ageism (junior Emily Zanni).
Next, Warriors for Change have four chairpeople who focus on educating members. The first is advocacy & awareness (junior Phillip Booker) who helps organize and plan service projects. Second, is education (junior Tran Le) whose job is to educate members so they can apply what they do in Warriors for Change to the real world (specifically things that happen at Sherwood). Third, there is teaching tolerance (senior Irene Ghosh) to send out newsletters and help the school understand issues talked about in meetings. Fourth is PR (junior Lauren Frank) who posts on social media about things the club is doing and important events that are taking place in the school community.
Finally, there are additional logistic positions that focus on PR and getting information out; these positions include treasurer (senior Jenna Thompson), brand ambassador (sophomore Devin Kosiorowski), secretary-reporter (senior Emily Siansky). This complex structure is one of the aspects that makes the club so unique: its ability to use these positions get their message across. Warriors for Change has bi-weekly, all-member meetings on Tuesdays, while officers meet weekly to create future service activites, plan out meetings, and more.
This is only the club’s second year at Sherwood, and its first in-person “Warriors for Change” is definitely different from being online. It somewhat feels like the club is starting from the beginning again because the platform is so new compared to being virtual last year,” said Pulliam, the club’s race/religion/culture captain. “Overall, I prefer it being in person because I feel that real connections can be made easier and better. It is also fun being able to plan more in person events for the club that can be more interactive and are more likely to happen without as many Covid-19 restrictions.”
At Sherwood there are a lot of small clubs that work to solve and bring attention to many of the same issues as Warriors for Change, but the big idea of Warriors for Change is that it’s the club that focuses on everything. Another aspect the club focuses on is taking action; they very heavily believe that just talking about issues is not enough and emphasize the point that it is crucial to also educate others in order to really create change.
“We know that we just stand outside and hold a sign that says black lives matter, because that’s not doing anything. That’s why we have the advocacy and awareness piece. Where we are standing outside but we are also teaching people about it and then we are educating people about it … We’re teaching people how to do it,” said Giovenco.