By Jennifer Osborn
In fulfillment of the Helix Senior Project, senior Asia Duncan recently hosted a forum for Helix students and police officers. The Linking Intergenerations Together Project (L.I.T.) is Duncan’s brainchild that she has been bringing to life for almost a year.
“My overall goal for that night was to bridge the gap of mistrust and miscommunication amongst young people and law enforcement,” she said.
Duncan’s work started with the Resolution Leadership Academy, a program offered at Helix through the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). She connected with Dr. Janet Castanos from HHSA and developed partnerships with the La Mesa Police Department (LMPD) and the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC). She also received donations from La Mesa Sunrise Rotary to support the project.
The event was very well attended. Original attendance estimates hovered around 30 students, but more than 200 people participated, including almost 50 adults and community members.
The forum featured discussion groups — students gathered at tables, each manned by a police officer from LMPD or San Diego Police Department. Ten officers, including LMPD Chief (and Helix alumnus) Walt Vasquez, volunteered their time for the event. Students and officers were able to have open discussions and express themselves.
Students from alumnus Nate Howard’s Movement BE program performed poetry to express the stereotypes and pressures they feel as young people or people of color. Duncan facilitated a Q&A session with Chief Vasquez, and Carson Cooper of the NCRC facilitated mini-workshops throughout the event.
“The feedback from the event was awesome,” Duncan said. “It varied from, ‘I felt like my voice was actually being heard,’ to ‘We need more L.I.T. Projects!’ My hope for the future is to work with different high schools and communities to inspire them to be the change in their communities and share their stories as well.”
SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club
On Thursday, Oct. 16, Helix partnered with AT&T and LMPD to bring driving simulators to the campus. Students were able to learn about the effects of texting and/or drinking and driving. The presentation took place all day in the science quad.
Helix students, Mugen Blue, Shawn Corrao, and Kirk Williams have been selected to the National Teen Advisory Board, which focuses on keeping teens safe while driving. The organization is out of Texas A&M and the boys are the only representatives from California.
The SADD club is conducting seat belt checks in the mornings to collect data regarding students remembering to buckle up.
Inquiries regarding enrollment for the 2017-18 school year are already coming in. Information on upcoming meetings and more details regarding the enrollment process are in the works. We anticipate having this information by early January. When information is available, it will be found on the school website, helixcharter.net (click on “Entrance Boundary/Lottery Information” on the left side of the page).
If you are interested in finding out more about Helix Charter High School, please attend one of our Excellence in Education Tours, held twice monthly. The tours for November are full, however, more dates are available starting in January. Reserve your spot using our website, helixcharter.net.
As always, we welcome your input. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
—Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School. Reach her at email@example.com.