Miss New York visits

Madeline Fagen , Assistant News Editor

Elementary and middle school students recently had the opportunity to learn from a pageant queen. On May 22, the current Miss New York, Shannon Oliver, visited Port schools to promote diversity awareness through a series of presentations.

The visit included two assemblies for sixth and seventh graders at Weber, two for first through fifth graders as Sousa, and one for fourth and fifth graders at Manorhaven.

The presentation, entitled “Fueling Good Day”, called the subject of bullying and stereotypes to the student body’s attention. Oliver explained that diversity among people is vital, and should absolutely not be a motive for bullying or stereotypes.

“I thought the presentation was effective because when you see such a successful woman who wants to persuade you to do something it really makes you think,” said Weber seventh grader Alyssa Alvez. “But I also thought how she connected it to herself made it even better on her part.”

The program was the outcome of a partnership between Oliver and the CITGO “Fueling Good” program, which strives to give back to the communities around the nation by  supporting local heroes and charities.

In one activity, sentences were read aloud and students were asked to stand up if the statement pertained to them. As students began to see the amount of people standing, they learned that they are not alone in their experiences and have peers who are feeling the same way they are.

“We also talked about the “Cultural Iceberg,” which uses the metaphor of an iceberg to describe the 10% of people that we can see above the surface (race, gender, clothing, etc.), in contrast with the 90% of someone that is beneath the surface (sense of humor, personality, family history, etc.),” said Oliver.

Finally, teachers were invited to sign up for an online classroom wish list in which they could win one thousand dollars toward classroom supplies.

According to Oliver, the students expressed gratitude for the presentation and seemed to really understand the message of diversity awareness.