Approximately 330 Creston Community Middle School students gathered on the Creston Community High School soccer field Friday afternoon.
The students arranged themselves in concentric circles as a drone, operated by CCHS communications and service technology (CAST) students, hovered above.
On CCMS Principal Brad Baker’s command, the students all raised the arms into the air in unison and looked up to the drone floating above the center of the circle.
“We’re taking a picture of our students to show we value them,” Baker said. “We want to get out a picture that represents we’re all one. That’s kind of been our theme lately ... we are all one and we have differences, but we need to celebrate them.”
Shortly after the drone snapped a few photos of the students in their circles, one student began swaying his or her arms from side to side. Soon, the entire circle of students was swaying their arms from side to side in an unplanned show of unison.
Baker said the CCHS CAST students are going to put Creston Community School District’s C logo in the empty middle of the circle of students and, across the bottom of the photo, will place a logo that says, “We are one.”
CCHS Technology Integrationist Teri Keeler said she is always glad to take high school students to work with the younger students in the district.
“It’s a good opportunity for the younger kids to see what the kids do at the high school,” Keeler said. “Anytime you can work with the middle school kids, it’s always a good experience for all the kids.”
Baker’s plan is for his students to spread that photo with the logo and message of unity across social media.
“We’re making sure we know what CARES means for the district,” Baker said. “We just want to make sure the students feel they can express to us if they need help or if they get in situations that are hard at this age. Kids are going to make mistakes, that’s just the way it is. That’s the one thing I enjoy about public schools, is we accept everybody and we try to educate and move on from there.”
The events of the past week gave Creston Community School District an opportunity to reflect on itself and how it is educating its students.
Social media has been at the forefront of that discussion.
“What we need to do is move on and not forget what happened, understand what happened, understand all the ramifications of (the) social network, your actions, character and how it can be destroyed in a matter of seconds,” Baker said. “It’s a fast-flowing communication device. It’s great when it’s positive and it’s not so great when it’s negative.”
Baker said offering a one-time assembly isn’t the answer to better educating the district’s students.
“We want to make sure we’re constantly saying how can we address and teach and learn through our curriculum, through our technology, through our history,” Baker said. “Our goal is making sure, as a community, we really enforce that we’re from diverse backgrounds and we need to celebrate them and make sure everybody fits into our boundaries, which are respecting others, respecting yourself and respecting this place.”