A Day of Inspiration

A Day of Inspiration

Written By Zoe Bishop ‘22

On May 3, eighteen 6th and 8th graders had the opportunity to go to an event called WE Day. Students were nominated by faculty for service to our SAAS community, displaying leadership potential and a passion for service. WE Day is a celebration and event for young people who are making a difference in the world both big or small. This event is different than others because you can’t buy a ticket. In order to get the opportunity to go you must perform one local and one global action. This action is done through volunteering or raising money through an event and then giving the proceeds raised to an organization or directly to WE Day schools. At WE Day, you get the opportunity to listen to inspirational speakers and listen to live music.

WE Day had some outstanding speakers but one of the younger speakers, Jacob Tremblay, really stood out. Jacob played Auggie Pullman in the new movie Wonder. When he came to the stage, he talked about how we shouldn’t judge people from the way they look. In addition, he said that when you see someone playing alone, invite them into your group. When he finished, he brought his friend, Nathaniel, who has Treacher Collins Syndrome onto the stage. Jacob explained to the audience that even though he may look different, they have a lot in common. Now, they are close friends and hang out in their spare time.

Speaking from his experience, Spencer West shared his story of losing both his legs by the age of five and showing that nothing was going to stop him. When he was older he asked a couple of his friends if they would climb Mount Kilimanjaro with him. They agreed and later that year summited Mount Kilimanjaro. Spencer used his hands and wheelchair to climb to the top of the mountain. Later in his life, he used his hands and went from one end of Canada to the other. He showed the audience that anything is possible, if you just keep trying.

Esera Tualo came on stage during WE Day and talked about his struggles when he was playing football and having to keep being a member of the LGBTQ community a secret. Esera had a lot of accomplishments in his life that included playing professional football and performing on The Voice and making it to the knockout round. Unfortunately, he has also faced some hard times in his life. Before the LGBTQ community was accepted in professional football, Esera was scared that if he came out as being gay and expressed who he really was, he would be kicked off of the football team. Football had been a part of his life from when he was a child. When he was younger he was nervous that he wouldn’t be accepted for being gay. This led him to the choice of trying to fit in by playing football. When football was a risk later in his career, he was afraid of having to let it go. Esera now sings, performs, and has been on The Ellen Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and Good Morning America.

Ann Curry spoke about her experience learning what the Holocaust was when she was a student. She told WE Day that when it was explained to her, it changed her life. She said that she wanted to change and be the human being that would stand up for humanity. Her goal is to make sure that no one has to suffer in silence as they did in the Holocaust. Ann Curry also talked about one of the most important messages – to not stand by. That is why so many people such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Harriet Tubman, and Mahatma Gandhi all stood up for others. She concluded her speech by telling the audience to take that same initiative and stand up for others.

After WE Day, we had a group discussion about some of the speakers that really stood out to us, what we learned, and what we would take away from the event. Everyone had ideas to share about how we, Seattle Academy, could be more involved in volunteer work and how they were inspired.

For me, after hearing all of the speakers at WE Day, the younger speakers were the people who really stood out to me. Whenever you hear about how a group or person organized an event and gave the money to charity, it is always a group of adults or one adult who made it happen. At WE Day I was able to see that adults aren’t the only people who can make a difference in the world. There are kids who are working hard volunteering and creating events all over the world, but none of these stories are shared. WE Day helped me understand that there are ways for kids to speak out and show what they have done to help make the world a better place. I saw that kids are able to make a difference and that they are able to stand up for what they believe in. Even small actions can collectively lead to big changes in the world.

It was a great opportunity for the 6th and 8th graders to be together for WE Day because the 8th graders are the current Middle School leaders, and it gives the 6th graders an opportunity to get to know students in higher grades as mentors and friends.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways for you to get involved here at Seattle Academy in both Middle School and Upper School and outside of school. The Middle School Seattle Academy Leadership Team (SALT) did a drive for homeless shelters this year and collected toiletries, socks, and shirts. There are clubs that you are able to join, and there is always the opportunity of standing up for someone and making a difference outside of the SAAS community.