Student Actions at Castlemont Inspire Hope

With everything wrong in the world, it is inspiring to work with kids and see them take the lead while we dawdle.  Great story in the news this week, where students from a neighboring district, San Leandro, saw the challenges that their neighbors in Castlemont were facing, and they did something, raising money through a charity run and donating it to fight student hunger.

These students showed a clearer moral vision than any adult in Sacramento, crossing the mythical school district line to help students, born on, or who couldn’t move to, the right side of the tracks, and taking action in the face of need, while most of us just bemoan the problems.

You can watch the tape here

And here’s an excerpt from KTVU,

A group of students from San Leandro High School participated in a fundraising run and donated all proceeds to help a group of Oakland students fighting poverty and hunger.

Students from the Jefferson Service Awards Club at SLHS held the run Monday afternoon in the Oakland Hills. They enlisted the help of the school’s cross country team to make the 8 mile run that ended at Castlemont High School. The run started with seven students and grew to about 100. Each donated cash to participate.

The money will go directly to the football team at Castlemont High School. Head Football Coach Edward Washington said more than half of the players on the team are dealing with financial issues or hunger. He said at one point, a few of them were homeless.

“It’s an eye opener of how they’re so close to us and this is happening in our community,” Cindy Mai, a senior at SLHS, said


“If we have people like this that work off of love and operate with love it would be a different paradigm in our community,” he (A Castlemont student)  said.

The students said the fundraising run was challenging, but rewarding.

“It was difficult, but compared to what they have to go through it’s nothing,”

This sense of empathy and action give me hope, and also their clear-sightedness on looking beyond traditional though imaginary boundaries.

Tear down the walls

I will continue to argue that The political boundaries that we draw between districts and within them in setting attendance zones, make absolutely no sense when a moral lens is taken.  Why should one district (ahem..Piedmont) with less challenged students have $5k more to spend than its needier neighbor (cough…Oakland).  And especially when we look at the histories of some of these boundaries (cough…racism and redlining), that separate districts and also set attendance zones.

I will also continue to argue that integrating students is generally good and hyper segregating them (by race and class) is always bad.  But that’s what our enrollment rules do.  So as these students looked across political boundaries for solutions, systemic reforms have to as well.

Please take a look at the story.  Amidst all the garbage and negativity, the youngsters have clearer eyes.  And I hope we can learn some lessons from them, that we are all in this together, that the dividing lines, political, racial and otherwise are artificial, and empathy and concrete actions can make things better.

I hope some of the adults are listening, and that they will start breaking down some of these dividing lines as well.

What do you think?

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