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Violence Prevention Program Gains Momentum This Year

Alyssa Blair, News Editor

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April 10-14 was West Springfield High School’s yearly Spirit Week, but this year it came with a twist. It also marked the introduction to the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program to students and faculty.

The MVP Program is an international group made up of students worldwide dedicated to stopping relationship and gender-based violence in our society. Here at WSHS, the program is made up of juniors and seniors who have been meeting for every X-Block since the fall under the guidance of advisors Mr. Bell and Ms. Barnicle.

MVP, Mentors in Violence Prevention, program adviser, Mr. Bell, shows off the club’s new digs.

“What we do is talk about different situations that students may face in their lifetime as they go about having relationships in their young adult lives and beyond and try to make sure they have the skills and tools they need to have healthy relationships and spot relationships in their friends and families lives that may not be one hundred percent,” said Mr. Bell as to what the group does.

In their meetings, the group touches on many topics in today’s society, not just gender-based violence.

“The things we talk about and stress on are things that everyone should know, but frankly don’t. It’s interesting to be able to compare different point of views on controversial topics and to share why you feel a certain why. We talk about the things that no one wants to talk about,” said senior member Gabrielle Trudeau. “I’ve learned so much from MVP, and it’s really helped me see the world in a different light.”

The goals and mission statements of MVP were shared with each class in a presentation given by the senior members on April 10. They even had a guest speaker named Aboshioma Obemeata, nicknamed Sho, who discussed his own life experiences with gender-based violence and how to become a leader that stops gender-based violence in today’s community.

Following the presentations, MVP had a variety of planned activities throughout the rest of the week planned for the whole school. That Wednesday during X-Block, they hosted a self-defense class for female students to teach them the proper steps to fighting off possible attackers in possible future assaults.  On Thursday, they hosted MVPalooza where different activities were set up in the gym during all three lunches to teach students more about gender-based violence.

As well as the launch of MVP, WSHS Spirit Week took place the same week throughout the school. Students participated in a variety of fun days like West Side Pride Day, USA Day, and Decades Day. However, that Thursday, the final day of Spirit Week, was MVP Day. The school dressed down in purple and attended a pep rally filled with fun activities that included a tug-of-war, class relay races, and even a performance from the annual  musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” by the drama club. The pep rally was a sight to see for anyone who looked upon it.

“The best thing was during our pep rally and we had a sea of purple. Everyone was wearing purple to show that they ended supporting relationship and domestic violence,” Mr. Bell said. “For me, that was huge.”       

Following the first year of MVP, the future of the program is looking strong with many students eager to get involved. “We want to not only extend [the program] to the student body, but the community as well,” said Ms. Barnicle, the co-advisor for the program.

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Violence Prevention Program Gains Momentum This Year