Photo by Ellie Cooper
When senior Alekza Morris first came to the school, she found friends through the club fair.
“I think [it is] an amazing opportunity for people to not just show off their clubs but to also involve others,” Morris said.
One of the clubs she currently participates in is Best Buddies, which promotes the inclusion of students with disabilities.
“You just get to hangout and do things with them,” Morris said. “We all have a peer group family, so we spend time with them and make them feel included.”
Though clubs were her starting point, Morris eventually involved herself in other ways.
“I do community service council, which allows me to bring community service opportunities to the school,” Morris said. “I think it is really important to do community service.”
She recently volunteered for Voice of Hope, a Christian organization that provides support and coaching to children.
“Before I moved, I did a lot of community service in Mexico because I lived on the border between Texas and Mexico,” she said.
Morris is also a school ambassador and part of the student council as a senior class representative.
“Being that face for the school and representing HP is really important to me,” she said. “I think that being a senior rep really gives you the ability to represent your school as much as possible while being inclusive to everyone.”
Inclusion is a value Morris prizes.
“For me, inclusion means accepting people as who they are no matter what their background is or where they come from,” Morris said, “Especially at a school like Highland Park when you don’t see many differences, it’s important to accept the people who have those differences.”
She thinks practicing how to be inclusive in high school will allow students to be more successful in the future.
“When we leave Highland Park, we’re going to be met with a lot of different people with different backgrounds and cultures,” Morris said.
In terms of fostering an inclusive school culture, she believes the school is doing well.
“I think Highland Park has inclusive parts about itself,” she said. “As the student body, we’re really integrating inclusivity into school spirit.”
However, she sees room for improvement.
“Because [of] where Highland Park is located there’s no way for us to know what inclusivity is outside of HP,” Morris said. “So, I think that in HP, we do a good job about trying to be inclusive, but I think we can do a better job outside of our school and the Highland Park community.”