Corinth Holders High students, Johnston County Public Schools staff, and a community representative shared their personal experiences and shed light on the obstacles and roadblocks they have faced due to gender and ethnicity during a special community event.
“We Are One: A Unity Forum” was a panel discussion made up of school and district staff, students, and the community, organized by the district’s Office of Equity.
The forum, held in the CHHS auditorium, consisted of six panelists and was an informal conversation on real-world issues. The panelists were Principal Brian Johnson, students and CHHS Equity Club members Jordan DeLoatch and Nathan Campbell, community member Fred Foreman, Communication Specialist James Summers, and MTSS Advanced Learning Coach Emily Hargrove.
“This was important because we have a lot of student organizations doing great things, and a lot of administrators doing great things, but nothing was being done together.” said DeLoatch. “This was an opportunity for both sides to come together and do something special.”
Chief of Equity, Information and Student Services Crystal Roberts along with Executive Director of Equity Dee Edmundson began planning the event in November 2019 to promote a deeper understanding of equity and mutual respect. They moderated the event and asked the panel questions about equity within the district, their own personal struggles with inequity, and what the district could do to further improve equity.
“It’s important to have these discussions because for so many years we have brushed it under the rug,” said Edmundson. “In order for us to ensure that our children are all treated fairly then we must have conversations that can be uncomfortable.”
The forum is just one way the school is working to increase unity among the Pirates. Students at CHHS also formed an equity club to assess the needs of their student body and create opportunities to form a more inclusive school community.
“With the creation of the Equity Club at Corinth Holders High, I’ve grown to see what needs to be changed and what has changed in our community,” said CHHS student and Equity Club member Nathan Campbell. “This forum and these talks are all the steps that we need to take to help us grow.”
Members of the Equity Club said they hope the March 5 forum is the first of many like it, and that they are planning to collaborate with other schools in the district in the future. The Office of Equity is planning similar forums for other school feeder patterns throughout the county.