No Fooling, Improv Comes to Loyola on April 1st

Ashley Sarpong, Author

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For the first time in recent history, Loyola Academy is conducting an entire day dedicated to solidarity–or unity. In previous years, the subject matter had reserved an entire week for optional interactive activities that dealt with an assigned theme–previous examples include race and immigration. This year a different approach is being taken that allows members of the community to fully immerse themselves in a learning experience, full of activities and events and void of distractions.

The Power of Technology is the theme of this year’s Solidarity Project, a topic that caters to the youth and involves futuristic elements. It was chosen due to its accessibility to most everyone in the modern age; this concept is believed to be an adequate stepping stone to ultimately lead to discussions on real-world implications relating to injustices and pertinent life skills. Many of those involved hope that exposing the student body to a plethora of information will result in reflection and potential action.

Presenters, many of whom are students in service-learning classes, will be attending to host workshops dedicated to their specific matter. “There will be some pretty interesting ones,” LA Service Team Member, George Kasten, revealed.  More than forty professional speakers will also occupy workshops to discuss serious topics dealing with experiences of the marginalized through the lens of technology as well others like social media and the digital age.

Months of preparation have gone into the day; director, Mr. Knoth, has worked relentlessly in order to assemble the all-school event. Those enrolled in service-learning courses are scheduled to take the lead for a large portion of the day. Mr. Knoth, who is keen on the notion that student involvement will be the driving force of Solidarity Day, believes that this will be “very empowering” on these students. “That is ultimately what we want,” he stated, “we want you to recognize that you have the ability to make even small changes matter.”

Senior, Jessica Vela, has been crafting a data visualization presentation with her group since last semester in order to bring more attention to the tutoring center she attends for Arrupe; the goal is to draw in more volunteers. In terms of Solidarity Day, she said, “It has been a lot of work,” but is looking forward to showcasing the design she and her group have worked so hard on.

One of the workshops that will available is “Communication Skills Through Improvisation” hosted by Mr. Bob Morand. The title has the potential to appear daunting at first, but aims to establish a judgment-free environment where communication skills may build through exercises.

Morand’s first word of advice about improvisation is, “Get out of your head!” He wants individuals to pick up on how well they communicate without confusion, whether spoken or physical. This will be done through group activities to appease the nerves that come along with appearing frivolous in front of others.

Morand hopes that all participants leave with the notion that, “In today’s day and age, when we all can be quite distracted by devices, we all should examine how we communicate directly with one another as individuals, with no devices, no social media.”

Solidarity Day 2019 will take place on April 1.