Hoover High School’s Project MOSAIC began in 2007 as a diversity initiative.
Angela Smith, AP Psychology teacher and project coordinator said, “One impetus was a racial epithet on the home of one of our students. The goal was to bring different kinds of students together so that they could get to know each other better.”
Project MOSAIC, Molding Our Students to be Accepting, Insightful and Compassionate, meets once a year to explore different topics. “Subjects have included diversity, bullying, self-reliance and resiliency” Smith said.
“Teachers identify students who would be good, not necessarily overt, leaders. We would like to involve youth who could be turned around. One hundred and twenty students are invited to a challenge day that includes strategies to make Hoover High School a better place,” Smith said.
In addition to identifying school “hot spots”where bullying goes on and helping to produce an anti-bullying video for the middle school, students see long-term benefits. “I learned how to cooperate with people who don’t look like me and understand those who are different,” said sophomore Rachel Topper.
“I met people I wouldn’t normally talk with and got a different perspective,” said junior Naomi Kasturiarachi. She added, “Bullying has stopped a lot. We learned the signs, how to stand up to it and the need to step in.”
“Kids who normally wouldn’t do anything are stepping up and doing something about intimidation,” senior Jack Cummings agreed.
Peggy Savage, curriculum director, started the program when she was associate principal at the high school. “We developed Project Mosaic as a proactive strategy to help our students discuss difficult topics in safe and positive ways. As an all-inclusive organization, students are able to meet all types of students and develop a shared vocabulary, learn shared expectations, and bond through shared experiences, Savage said.
This year’s Project MOSAIC Challenge Day is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1 from 7:20 a.m.-1:50 p.m.
“The main topic this year is reducing teen stress. The Kent State University psychology department will be speaking in the morning and Dr. Michael Dunphy from Walsh will speak after lunch,” Smith said.