Students Bare Their Real Hearts and Souls
By Ashonda Bethea-Ruth
Taking its cue from the hit MTV reality series "If You Really Knew Me," the Sophomore Class hosted its version of the show in which high school students participate in a one-day program, where counselors try and get students to break down the walls between students in the same high school.
The program was led by Sophomore Class President Chinelo Azeka, who at the beginning of the event happily pulled the students sitting chairs into a smaller circle. Many students volunteered to be taken for an emotional ride.
As many as 26 students attended the event, along with Mr. Sophomore, Miss Sophomore, Mr. Junior and the sophomore counselor to name a few.
Similar to the MTV show, the program started off with students sitting in a circle and introducing themselves to one another. There were students from all classes in the mix.
Immediately following the introduction was the first round of if you really knew me. Azeka explained to the group that one my one, counterclockwise, each individual would state something about themselves in the if-you-really-knew-me fashion.
"I really hoped that they would get a sense of humility and understanding of why people do the things they do," Azeka said.
The first many people stated basic information about themselves: How many siblings do you have? What do you enjoy? The second round, however, got more intense. Many people disclosed personal information that no one had ever heard before --- not even close relatives or friends.
Within the circle there were many emotions weighing down on individuals. Not too long after a few rounds had passed, some individuals began to cry, at their own truths, and the truths of other individuals. Some of the overwhelming issues people had were issues dealing with neglect, fear, death, and rape.
Asked if she felt like she would open up as much as she did, graduating senior Markita West replied, "No not at all. I actually was trying to think of basic things to say before I went in," she said laughing.
Several individuals stated that they had been raped in the past, which prompted tears from many in the group. Others said that they had seen death first-hand and how the experience still hurts them today. There were many shared tears and hugs going on throughout the event as students comforted one another after sharing their personal secrets.
The event ended with a closing circle in which everyone said something encouraging to another person.
"It is important for me to be transparent," West said, "so that I can help people see the healing side" of struggles.
There were many students who brought out their beliefs, stating that without their God, they would not have been the person they are today.
Sophomore counselor Aquila Mitchell said the event was very powerful beyond words. She advised students to seek out the help that is available on campus trough the Counseling Services office on the third floor of the Martin Luther King building.
The program ended in a huge group-hug.