With a steely eyed focus on their well-defined mission, the enthusiastic teenagers who comprise Huntington High School’s A World of Difference club are set to roll up their sleeves and begin their vital work.
AWOD members participate in projects that promote unity among Huntington High School’s various ethnic and racial groups. The club’s ranks will be completely replenished following last June’s graduation of seniors during an upcoming training session on October 17 from 2:30-6 p.m.
Club veterans and newcomers alike will come together to learn about tolerance and how recognizing diversity and encouraging others to do so can improve their community. Business teacher Suzi Biagi and retired librarian Camille DeCanio serve as the organization’s faculty advisors.
This year’s AWOD officers included co-Presidents Alexis Aviles and Angelica Hernandez, co-Vice Presidents Cassidy Casanova and Sophia Machetta, Treasurer Madeline Bavaro and co-Secretaries Brianna Isaza and Isabella Orjuela.
The most important message stressed by AWOD veterans at any training session has always been “the power of one.” AWOD’s membership consists of a true melting pot of personalities and backgrounds. The disparate parts of the group easily came together during annual training sessions.
Additional training sessions are set for the winter and spring. AWOD will also host its annual training program at Woodhull School next spring. The Woodhull students will be led through activities similar to those provided at AWOD’s new member training. The goal of club’s peer trainers is to pass on their message of positivity and acceptance.
Last spring, 20 high school AWOD members trained 17 classes of Woodhull students. The curriculum was written by the teenagers themselves. It addressed bias, bullying, mean words and rudeness.
Last spring’s training session was meaningful for both the Woodhull students and the high school AWOD members. “The kids definitely opened up to us instead of just giving default answers,” said current sophomore Joseph Tropeano at the conclusion of the training last spring. “There was meaning behind their responses. I love being in AWOD. It really shows you how one person can change the world.”