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Scarsdale Middle School Hosts Human Rights Conference

Scarsdale Middle School students will learn about human rights issues at the conference Thursday.
Scarsdale Middle School students will learn about human rights issues at the conference Thursday. Photo Credit: File

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale Middle School students will be encouraged to enact reform Thursday as the school hosts the ninth annual human rights conference, Stand Up and Be the Change.

It will be a day filled with academic activities for students that focus on human rights issues. Guest speakers will appear throughout the day, highlighted by keynote speakers Spencer West and Michael Chikwanine.

West, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro on his hands last June to raise money for clean water projects in Kenya, will kick off the event at 8:20 a.m. He will recount the tale of his journey again at 1 p.m. Chikwanine, a former child soldier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will talk about the struggles he has experienced and his passion for change at 10:44 a.m.

Throughout the day, several workshops will be held and guest speakers will appear in classrooms around the school. Students in Denise Cassano’s art classes will work with Abigail Finick from the One Million Bones project to create bones that will be on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The bones represent the millions killed in humanitarian crises around the world.

Students will also hear from E’shondra McClendon, who will share her story of growing up in poverty in Westchester County. Despite her hardships, she achieved her goal of going to college and becoming a lawyer. In the Chorus Room, Katherine Bescherer and Robert Levin will lead a workshop on the music of Ghana and the power of music to connect people across borders.

Dale Williams, who is in charge of Midnight Run, will recount his story of being homeless before going to work for the Westchester-based nonprofit agency that offers aid to people living on the streets. In a separate room, Maureen Ball and Dawn Rivellini will help sixth-graders make and pack sandwiches for a Midnight Run on Saturday. In the library, students will pack hundreds of cans collected during the food drive for delivery to the Food Bank of Westchester.

Eighth-graders will introduce the new Tolerance Café, and Mark Fang from the Westchester Human Rights Commission will speak to students in Will Maldorelli’s class.

The workshops will be held throughout the day. Lunch will be served from 10:44 a.m. to 1 p.m., with guests available in the Great Hall.

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