Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Coming Soon to HHS: The Courage Wall

A group representing our 39 HWC tutors attended the Capital Area Peer Tutoring Association’s 2015 conference at George Mason University in October, and while at that conference, our tutors attended presentations about the ways in which public writing projects can help build community in schools and create a positive school culture. Our tutors were so inspired by this idea, and after learning more about Nancy Belmont’s Courage Wall , which was installed in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, this past spring, and after watching Candy Chang’s TEDTalk, “Before I Die, I Want to…” , our tutors decided that they want to bring a Courage Wall to Herndon High School.

We have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help us raise money for this project. If you are interested in helping us make this happen, click here. No donation is too small.

The original Courage Wall in Alexandria. Image Credit

What is The Courage Wall?
The Courage Wall will be a chalkboard wall mounted outside of the HWC at the top of the stairs closest to Door 5. We are following Nancy Belmont’s model, so there will be several spaces on the board for people to anonymously complete the sentence, “I wish I had the courage to…”. The purpose of our wall is to build community in our school, to help students and staff see the hopes and dreams of the people they see every day, and to help students and staff see that they are not alone. We are planning a lesson for our Teacher Advisory period that we hope will occur the same week we debut the Courage Wall.

The money that we raise for this project will cover the following costs:
-5 4x8 Plywood Panels
-1 Gallon Kilz Primer
-2 Gallons Flat Black Chalkboard Paint
-1 package of Alphabet Stencils
-1 small custom stencil
-1 package of acrylic paints for our stencils
-Painting materials
-Mounting the wall outside of the HWC

We are hoping to raise funds by the end of December 2015 so that we can construct and debut our wall in January 2016.

Why We Need This Wall (In the Words of our Tutors)
"I think that a courage wall is needed so that students who may feel alone with their problems will see that many others are going through similar situations as well. I am excited about it because I feel that it will be beneficial by creating a sense of togetherness throughout the school."- Alyssa

"I think HHS needs a courage wall because students who are feeling alone in their problems will feel walk by the wall and relate to other students and find inspiration. I'm excited to see students write deep and dramatic things on the wall that will make me smile when I walk by." -Maddie

"HHS needs a courage wall because there are a lot of moments in high school where students let their fears take over. Having a courage wall would help people find courage to do things they normally would've never imagined. I'm excited to write to write on the courage wall and start building it for other students. Hopefully, other people will see the powerful message of a courage wall and respect it." -Niki

"A courage wall in our halls is needed to help bring students closer together. This wall would help the students at Herndon High school recognize their hopes and dreams and their capabilities for success." -Patrick

"High school can be a place full of insecurities and hard times. But, it has the ability to be a place of encouragement and growth. I fully believe that installing a Courage Wall in HHS will change the overall social feel of our school. It can be an everyday reminder of something good as students tread the halls to their next class. That small moment of walking past the Courage Wall has the ability to completely alter a students day for the better and that is a possibility our school needs." -Sarah

"I think HHS needs a courage wall because it would help people delve further into their consciousness; whether they need the courage to stand up for themselves, friends, stand up to their friends, or just to become a better version of themselves, a courage wall would help that. My hopes for the courage wall are that it will help people" -Piper

"Herndon High School needs a courage wall because a part of high school is learning who you are and what you want to do. Having courage is critical in life. I am extremely excited about this because it gives the students here the opportunity to speak their mind without judgement. " -Colleen

"Many teens can feel isolated, but also overwhelmed and alone. Alone in the sense that they are going through all the same doubts, fears, and problems all by themselves. I think it will also be an inspiring place for people to post how they feel in an anonymous and creative way. I personally know that as an introvert many times I want to state my opinion but am too timid to do so. This wall will help everyone feel like they have an equal voice on the wall no matter who they are. What excites me about the Courage Wall is that it will be a unique project for HHS to really see how students feel and care to express themselves. " -Ana

We are incredibly grateful for any contributions! Thank you for helping us to make this dream project a reality!


The Herndon Writing Center

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