by Katie Burris
A couple weeks ago, Payton Major, Beaverton’s ASB president, announced her new initiative called “Project Inclusion” during the welcome assembly. The project centers on the idea that every student should be able to feel included at Beaverton High School.
During the assembly, Major demonstrates this idea by introducing herself to a student on the stands. They exchange names, and for the sake of time, facts about themselves. This is a small demonstration of a movement Major hopes to start during her semester, a push for students to get out of their comfort zones and talk to others they may normally not.
Project Inclusion stems from an assignment in Leadership that asks the students to introduce themselves to a new student every two weeks, according to ASB Vice President, Ainsley Adams. She mentions that, “If there’s kids sitting alone at lunch, we want them to be a part of the school. We introduce ourselves to them, but not in a way that makes them feel pitied or a project. We want to create connections with people.” This reflects points Major makes during her speech, about building connections throughout the school and learning facts about each other. Adams also mentions that, “it’s hard to think someone’s rude when you know their story.”
Another way that Major and Adams hope to spread this idea is through the way Homecoming voting is arranged. “When we did nominations, we wanted to reach out to new people that usually wouldn’t get nominated, so we contacted clubs, sports, and fun activities to nominate and diversify the court.” says Major. This new voting was tested last year for the Sadie Hawkins dance, and it seemed to work well enough for them to reinstate it again.
There are many more activities and ideas supporting Project Inclusion coming in the future. A talent show in December will hopefully be a way to include those who wish to showcase their talents to a smaller audience, rather than in front of the entire school during an assembly. However, the real takeaway from this project is that students and Beaverton need to take the time to reach out and meet new people.
“I hope that people really respect that this is an issue at our school, from friend groups and from the leadership class to the rest of the school. I feel like there’s a kind of bridge there, and I want to close the gap and make sure we are all one community,” says Major. “That’s really really important to me, and I feel like Beaverton has one of the best communities ever, or we have the capability be so, and I hope people will go out of their comfort zones and actually try new things and meet new people, because that’s the only way we are going to create a community.”
Payton, via her Instagram. Photo courtesy of Payton Major