Students to consider diversity

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An assembly at Steamboat Springs High School on Monday will challenge students to get to know others before placing judgment.

The school's Student Council, leadership class and Gay Straight Alliance Club have arranged for a group called Our 5 Productions of Lincoln, Neb., to bring its message of tolerance and diversity to the high school.

Made up of five college-age students, Our 5 Productions uses skits, props, video, music and dialog to encourage students to rethink their individual strengths and their effects on others, said Lucianne Myhre, who teaches the leadership class and is a Student Council sponsor.

Some impetus for the mandatory program came from a situation last fall, in which Steamboat Springs High School football players may have directed racial slurs at players from Battle Mountain High School during a game in Steamboat.

The incident was not confirmed, but it spurred a meeting in Oak Creek, where students from both high schools discussed diversity issues. The overwhelming message was that teenagers need to do something to make students more aware of diversity that exists, said Myhre, who attended the meeting.

The obvious lack of diversity in Steamboat sometimes glazes over the many differences and nuances that exist in the town, she said.

"Sure, there's a lack of diversity in terms of ethnicity, but there is a lot of diversity in this town that people don't acknowledge as diverse," Myhre said.

There's been particular skepticism within the town regarding the formation of the Gay Straight Alliance club at the high school. The group wanted to be behind the assembly to emphasize that they are about making people aware of diversity, she said.

The Student Council decided to bring Our 5 Productions to the high school after seeing the group perform several times at student council conferences in Fort Collins.

"They could relate to them -- they talk at their level," Myhre said about why the students liked the group. "It's not adults talking down to them about what they need to do."

The group's presentations are interactive and use a combination of emotion, drama and humor that helps get its message across, she said.

"Sometimes, you're pretty much on the edge of your seat," Myhre said.

The public is welcome to attend the presentation, which will be 10 a.m. Monday in the old gymnasium.


-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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