Calls for Awareness Saturate Calendar

Sheila Teker, Staff Writer

There are months dedicated to certain types of awareness, yet, ironically, students are poorly informed about them.

For example, March is Women’s History Month, Deaf History Month, National Craft History Month, Red Cross Month, Optimism Month, Honor Society Awareness Month and more. The only 1 of these that appears in Leadership’s Monthly Flush for March is “Women’s History Month” – and I think it’s safe to say that not many students talk enough about these other important histories.

The issue is that students are embarrassingly uninformed about the topics covered.  Rather than allow Black History Month or LGBTQ+ month pass us by, there needs to be more effort by Campolindo to promote awareness and education to these topics which are central to human history.

Sophomores Amelia Graves and Alyssa Craigie initially agreed that awareness months were “excellent” means of spreading awareness, but upon discovering the plethora of awareness campaigns that come with every month, realized that they still had room to raise their level of understanding.

1 may say the issue is that the majority of people simply do not put in the effort to become conscious of troubles in and the histories of society – or that since schools do not teach these topics, there is no reason to delve into them.

While Black History in February, Breast Cancer and LGBTQ+ awareness in October, and AIDS awareness in December are familiar dedications to most, part of the problem, according to sophomore Emilia Silverman, is that “different months are more important to some people than to others.”

If a month’s campaign does not directly impact a student, then they will not care. 

1 of the best-known mottos in today’s world is, “Ignorance is bliss.” Despite its positive-sounding connotation, it concerns me to think that we live in a society that claims that it values high levels of learning. Without proper education about the topics promoted by awareness months, we neglect our progression to modern society by failing to recognize certain issues still relevant today, or not appreciating how far we have come.

Thus, we stay as ancient and stagnant as this proverb.

Author Daniel DeNicola said in an interview with New Humanist Magazine, “As a society, we are now spending too much time, energy, and capital battling willful ignorance — about climate control, about the genuine effects of social policies, about the extent and impact of governmental programs, about immigrants, about those who are different.”

As is exemplified copiously through other such studies, movies, and even texts like George Orwell’s 1984, the majority of people remain ignorant to awareness campaigns because they either lack the motivation to learn about them or their environment fails to provide sufficient teachings about them.

The education these months offer is important. For example, education about topics covered in March through Deaf History Month and Red Cross Month allows us to see society’s improvements throughout time as well as from where modern ideas and activities come.

Deaf History Month celebrates several events, such as 1817’s opening of the American School of the Deaf, which provided those with hearing disabilities similar opportunities as their counterparts in society – and, in these schools was where American Sign Language (ASL) emerged as a language.

While these histories may not be as well known as Women’s History and Black History, they are just as important to learn about.

And there is no implication that Women’s History and Black History months are officially taught at our school, which is a shame considering that Campolindo’s goal is to create an environment where everyone feels safe to discuss important issues.

As part of an emerging, leading generation, we deserve to be taught about such essential histories, issues, events, and the like that are advocated by awareness months. Simply writing a label on the Monthly Flush and expecting students to know what they mean doesn’t cut it.

A 10-minute activity in classes could benefit us more than we might think and is definitely better than outright disregard.

A small step would be having Leadership include details about these histories on the Monthly Flush.

After AP courses are done with exams in May, most of those classes are typically free periods, since all the content has been taught and assessed. In the remaining days, teachers could utilize their class time to inform students about the topics addressed in awareness month campaigns. Not to mention, according to Niche (a website that informs the public about schools), approximately 60% of Campolindo students take AP classes, so the majority of the school would be more knowledgable about these awareness campaigns.

Regular classes, like Health, could make connections to dig deeper into the curriculum by emphasizing awareness months like Pride Month and Stress Awareness Month. In English classes, teachers could, for instance, celebrate Black History Month by reading and analyzing the works of African American authors – especially since class content has recently been more flexible with novels. Social Studies classes could obviously teach in great depth about history-related months, and there is no doubt that science classes can talk about monthly STEM-related celebrations.

In regards to mood-related months and the like, aspects of our school, like the Wellness Center, should be able to easily adopt the titles like “Optimism Month” to further their aims of helping others find happiness as well as relaxation alongside the month label’s campaign that positivity allows 1 to lead a healthier, longer life.

As English teacher Shannon Sieckert urges students to consider, “What stories don’t we know? Who/what benefits from our ignorance?”