MIHS Drill Team Takes Part in West Mercer Belonging Assembly
Mercer Island, WA, December 6, 2023 – West Mercer Elementary held their third Belonging Assembly of the year today and welcomed a special surprise guest performance from members of the MIHS Drill Team as part of the assembly.
At West Mercer each month this year as part of the school’s School Improvement Plan social-emotional learning goal around belonging, the school holds a Belonging Assembly.
The visit from the Drill Team provided an opportunity to highlight Belonging within a high school team, make connections between students from West Mercer and the high school, and further cultivate a sense of community and belonging in the Mercer Island School District.
The assembly started with a video presentation from the West Mercer News Team where they asked students why they are unique to highlight belonging and acceptance at the school.
Ninth grade drill team member Ina Song, who moved to Mercer Island three years ago from South Korea, spoke to students after the video presentation about what belonging meant to her as she navigated a new country and culture.
“Since I was bad at English and was not used to the culture, I had trouble talking to people, and it made it hard for me to be accepted or belong to any group. Some people made fun of me in front of others for my poor English. Naturally, I started losing confidence. But I didn’t want to give up because I wanted to talk and belong. I started with sending messages to my teachers, because it felt more comfortable than talking to someone face to face. I pushed myself to speak if I had the chance, to participate in discussions and prepare for presentations. And in that journey, I was able to find myself piece by piece. Now I have found myself, and I can belong as who I am. The reason why I couldn’t belong as myself was because I lost myself. I forgot what kind of person I was before I came to the U.S., and it took me 3 years to find myself again. The first step in belonging is loving yourself and believing in yourself.”
After Ina’s presentation students and staff were treated to a surprise Super Mario Brothers routine performance by the drill team. The team danced to Super Mario Brothers themed music and wore costumes very similar to the very popular video game and movie character’s dress.
After the assembly two members of the drill team spoke to MISD Communications Coordinator Ian Henry about the what taking part in the belonging assembly at West Mercer meant to them.
“Attending the Belonging assembly holds great significance for us because, as a team, one of our biggest goals is to make everyone feel included,” said senior drill team captain Jada Luu. “Dance is able to convey a sense of belonging and bringing people together. All of our dancers come from different backgrounds yet we come together and create a community that has a loving and caring environment.
“By being a part of this assembly, I hope that we can inspire others to appreciate differences and cultivate their own inclusive community,” stated Luu.
Each West Mercer Belonging Assembly focuses on a component of belonging and is led by two buddy classes and the school’s Leadership Ambassadors student club. In November the MIHS Marching Band visited the school for the Belonging Assembly.
“Attending this Belonging assembly reflects the importance of coming together as a school community and learning how to feel like you and your peers are a part of something bigger,” said junior drill team member Isabella Sullivan. “From this assembly, I would like to learn how I can be a better leader in making sure those around me feel included and cared about.
“I think it is really important that we learn how to belong with each other and part of this comes with feeling like you belong yourself. I believe part of feeling like you belong is knowing you have an impact on your community, so I hope to learn how I should contribute to my community to build that sense of belonging,” continued Sullivan.
Principal Megan Isakson closed the assembly by telling the students, “The drill team is here today to help us spotlight the connection between us and other students across all the schools. Remember when the band was here something they said was ‘they’re just like you, they are just older’. You’re just like the drill team, you’re just younger. So remember we have connections across our whole community.”
The opportunity for this cross-school connection with the Drill Team came out of the work of the new "We Are Islanders" group, which primarily consists of West Mercer families and staff at present, with the ultimate goal of connecting across all Mercer Island schools.
The mission of We Are Islanders is as follows: Through joyful connections and camaraderie, our mission is to cultivate a sense of belonging and unconditional value for students and families that celebrates our diversity and pride through the statement, “We Are Islanders.”
West Mercer Elementary held their third Belonging Assembly of the year today and welcomed a special surprise guest performance from members of the MIHS Drill Team as part of the assembly.
This afternoon West Mercer elementary celebrated Diwali.
At West Mercer Elementary each month this year as part of the school’s School Improvement Plan social-emotional learning goal around belonging, the school holds a "Belonging Assembly."
Each class, as a whole, will decide on characters, settings, plot, and other elements of their novel. Once all of those are determined, Ray creates chapter summaries and the students use their summary to write their chapter.