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Art, Poetry, WSA Music Energize & Inspire Over 300 students at Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights

March 27, 2016
By Susan Trower

Cornelia Thane '16, Audrey Jordan '18, Angie Mead '16, and Liam Near '16 performing at the Youth Rally - Espen Swanson photoOlympic College was the meeting place on Friday, March 25 for the 22nd annual Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights.  Sponsored by Kitsap Safe Schools Network, Kitsap County Council for Human Rights , Olympic College (OC) and Kitsap Peninsula schools, the event is an opportunity for junior and senior high students to gather and inform one another on a variety of issues of human rights.'s a chance to celebrate and have a lot of fun!

Area school districts rotate the annual responsibility of being the 'host school' - in charge of planning the theme, the Rally logo for the t-shirts, and the opening and closing ceremonies in the OC gym at the Bremer Student Center.  This year was West Sound Academy's turn to host, and the QSA @ WSA club took charge. 

QSA @ WSA and Listen to Your Art organizers Ben Taylor '16, Aidan Moore '16, and Megan Hall '16 serving as MC's at the Welcoming Ceremonies at the Youth Rally - Espen Swanson photoAs students arrived at OC for the Rally, teachers and club advisors handed out t-shirts to all.  This year's Rally theme - Listen to Your Art - was an extension of last summer's Listen to Your Art festival, and Ben Taylor, '16 designed the logo that was happily worn by students and adults at the Rally.

In the time leading up to the opening ceremonies, students had plenty to do - create art for the WSA Art Wall, view the exhibit of paintings from WSA's Jan Term class, and visit information tables from a number of non-profits that serve youth in the area.   Ben Taylor, Aidan Moore, and Megan Hall staffed the Listen to Your Art 2 booth, encouraging everyone to come to the music festival in Port Gamble on August 6

These same three WSA seniors shared MC duties for the Welcoming Ceremonies, and the WSA Music Ensemble class, Paul Burback directing, amazed the crowd with their performance.  Everyone knew they were part of something special when the stands in the OC gym emptied out as students rushed to the floor to start dancing to the music! 

WSA Music Ensemble in the OC gym at the Youth Rally - Espen Swanson photoRally participants then left the gym and attended their choice of two breakout sessions, planned and presented by student clubs.  The Central Kitsap High Drama Department staged two performances of The Laramie Project.  Audience members were moved by this play about the reaction of Laramie town residents to the murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard.

And then it was time to go back to the Bremer Center for the sack lunches provided by Rally organizers.  WSA seniors Joey Schmitt and Liam Near served as the MCs for the open mic time, helping to boost the courage of students to get up and read their poems or sing their songs.

2016 Kitsap Youth Rally for Human Rights - Listen to Your ArtThe closing ceremonies were a time for poetry, thank-you's to volunteers and Olympic College, and more music from WSA's Music Ensemble class.  Students left the gym, newly energized and inspired to live up to the day's theme.

Listen to...Pay attention to your own unique character, and to the humanity and fundamental rights of others.

Your Art...Use creative means to communicate what's important to you.

Posted in Special Events