CEDARVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Cedarville High School is one of 36 schools and the only one in Arkansas involved in the project called “We are America”. The program started in a classroom in Lowell, Massachusetts and opened up a national conversation about American identity across 23 states including hundreds of students. The goal of the project is for the students to define their America, and explore its diversity.
“Passionate, reliable and loving, daughter of the most selfless woman, who loves driving alone, having red hair and heartfelt conversations,” High school student Kaitlyn Huckeby recites the poem she wrote for one of the lessons.
Students worked through dozens of lesson plans on diversity, perception, and history. Huckeby said the project is forcing her to change the way she looks at herself and her classmates. “I’ve learned that there isn’t just one layer but there are many more layers to somebody.”
U.S. History teacher Whitney Armer wanted her classroom to join the project to help students find their voice. ”We actually did several exercises on looking at each other through different lens,” Armer said.
The most recent lesson involved the beauty of human skin in every color. Student Kendall Townsend said with every lesson she is learning to embrace all of her qualities and flaws. “Usually I ask people what they think of me or what they see in my appearance but through this project, I have been able to figure out who I am and dig deeper,” Townsend said.
“Finding out who you are, it’s more than just being American its learning more about you. You have to dig down deep and look at yourself,” said Armer.
At the end of the lessons, each student will write a final personal story about what they think it means to be American and it will be published in a book. Each school will have its own book.