Last year, Monroe-Woodbury High School started a movement involving a series of assemblies to teach students five important concepts they can apply to their everyday lives: Compassion, Acceptance, Respect, Empowerment, and Success.
While organizing M.W. CARES, Principal Mr. Kaste focused on finding speakers that would be able to raise awareness while also resonating with the students and faculty.
Last year, the high school hosted the first M.W. CARES day with over 120 speakers, and the students chose what assemblies to attend. Due to the large cost and planning time, it is impossible to have a M.W. CARES day every year, so it will switch every year between an M.W. CARES day and a series of assemblies throughout the school year.
Students received an email that said there will be five assemblies this year and two evening events which the community can attend.
The speakers were Richard Specht on September 19 and Diane Lang on October 30. Future speakers will be A’ric Jackson on January 28, Haben Girma on April 2, and Rick Adam on April 28.
Ms. Anderson, a teacher at the high school said that MW-CARES allows students to know that people in the community are there for them. She said that M.W. CARES is a unifying experience.
Ms. Anderson stated that two areas of concern that M.W. CARES helps to address is suicide prevention and awareness of substance abuse and vaping.
Many students that attend the school think M.W. CARES is a cool movement and they enjoy the assemblies. Esther Kwon said that it’s nice to see different types of stories and perspectives.
Mr. Kaste came up with the idea of M.W. CARES after going to a middle school in Montvale, New Jersey, and hearing about their “3 R Day” which stands for remember, reflect, and respect. Mr. Kaste said “we were inspired by their 3 R day” and “we really took it to a different level.”
Mr. Kaste plans on continuing M.W. CARES for years to come.
“We didn’t want it to be a one and done type of thing,” said Mr. Kaste.
MW-CARES is a district-wide initiative. By 2020, each school in the district will be participating in this movement.