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West Mercer Belonging Assembly Highlights “We Are Islanders” Campaign with Help From MIHS Marching Band

West Mercer Belonging Assembly Highlights “We Are Islanders” Campaign with Help From MIHS Marching Band
MISD Communications

Mercer Island, WA, November 2, 2023 – 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 assembly focuses on a component of belonging and is led by two buddy classes and the school’s Leadership Ambassadors student club.

On Wednesday, November 1, West Mercer held their second Belonging Assembly of the year and welcomed a special guest performance from members of the MIHS Marching Band.

The visit from the Marching Band provided an opportunity to elevate the arts, 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.

MIHS Marching Band performing in West Mercer gym

Junior Julius Perez, who plays the clarinet in the marching band, is a West Mercer alumnus and spoke to students at the end of the performance about belonging.

Perez said “We are so unbelievably excited to be a part of this celebration of community belonging” and then spoke to the elementary students about what belonging meant to him.

“What belonging means to me as a West Mercer Wolf is that I was here in this gym and I found what belonging meant to me. Being here in this gym playing tag, playing kickball with Mr. Alin and all of my friends, that was belonging, that was belonging for me. I also find belonging with these guys (marching band), they are my best friends in the whole world.”

“Part of us being here today is I just want a moment to say to all of you, whatever it looks like, whether it’s choir or orchestra or a sport or band, that I really hope you guys find something amazing. Find it in the community and you’re going to find a place to belong. The best thing I can say is find the people that make you happy, find them and stick with them.” 

Watch A Video Recap of the Belonging Assembly with the MIHS Marching Band

The opportunity for this cross-school connection 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 students and staff were also excited to share their support and pride for the Marching Band as they approach their big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade performance in New York on Thursday, November 23. More information on the Marching Band taking part in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can be found here.