Hinsdale South No-Hate Week puts spotlight on differences
Mike Cheong passes out candy as students arrive at Hinsdale South High School Monday. The Diversity Club members greeted students at the entrance for No-Hate Week. | James C. Svehla~for Sun-Times Media
Did you know?
The 1,700-plus students at Hinsdale South High School are a diverse group, as illustrated by these statistics, provided by the school and its 2012 Illinois School Report Card.
• 460 students come from non-English speaking or bilingual households
• Hinsdale South students speak 46 different languages
• The English Language Learner Program includes students from more than 10 countries
• 80 Hinsdale South students are hearing-impaired
• More than 17 percent of students are African-American
• More than 9 percent are Asian
• Nearly 1 in 10 students is Hispanic
• Nearly 3 percent of students describe themselves as bi- or multi-racial
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:16AM
Don’t hate me if you don’t know my story.
That’s the theme for this year’s No-Hate Week, an annual effort by Hinsdale South’s Diversity Club to foster tolerance and acceptance among the school’s diverse student body.
The group kicked off the week Monday by showing classmates there’s more to every person than meets the eye. Members of the club greeted students wearing signs that told something about themselves.
“Just because you see me every day doesn’t mean you know me,” said senior Michael Cheong, whose sign revealed his fear of shopping carts.
Like many members of the Diversity Club, Cheong joined after attending the sophomore diversity workshop, an annual part of No-Hate Week. The workshop is an exercise in awareness and acceptance for all sophomores that Principal Brian Waterman said helps students become respectful, tolerant citizens. Along with two guest speakers, the day involves an activity in which sophomore students are given a label, worn on the forehead. Students have to guess what is on the label through questions asked by their classmates.
Cheong said the questions often shed light on stereotypes and get students thinking about how races, religions and cultures are judged.
“People really do judge people without really knowing who they are,” said junior Erika Yanez.
Her classmates might guess from her name that Yanez is of Hispanic descent, but the sign she wore Monday morning also revealed her text anxiety — something that isn’t as visible, but something that others likely share.
“People here are pretty accepting of diversity,” said sophomore Brett Kvasnicka, whose sign read, “You may not know that my step family is black.”
No-Hate Week continues Tuesday with the sophomore diversity workshop. Wednesday is Warm Fuzzy Day, when students had the chance to buy cotton candy at lunch. On Thursday, groups of students will watch the movie “Bully.”