Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The meaning of the Messmer/CMH switch days!

by CMH junior, Cameron Sanchez --

I first heard about the Messmer/CMH switch days last year from my friend Dallas, who helped organize the event. He told me it was a day where CMH students would get the chance to experience the average school day of a Messmer student. Unfortunately I heard about it too late, and did not get the chance to apply. However this year my friends and I were determined to go. We filled out our applications, and prayed we would be a part of the lucky twenty-five who were chosen. Our prayers were answered, and the majority of us were accepted. We were thrilled to say the least. We could not wait until Tuesday morning, when we would first meet the Messmer kids.

When the morning finally came, the nerves set in a little. Would we get along with the other students? Would they like our school? Would they like us? Little did we know how well we would click with them. After the icebreaker in the projection room, I got more and more acquainted with my partner, Jaslyn. Jaz went to all of my classes with me, and really felt welcomed at our school. She liked how willing people were to letting her in and sharing information about themselves with her. She also enjoyed the quality of our lunches, and the fact we do not have uniforms. The first day of the switch turned out to be a great success. I made new friendships with the majority of the Messmer students, and strengthened these friendships at Messmer.

My experience at Messmer was one not easily forgotten. Right off the bat the kids were so welcoming, and quick to introduce themselves. I really enjoyed the spirit of the school. The students were so close to each other that I could not tell what grades they were in. Everyone socialized with everyone. That was the major thing I liked best about the school. I also really enjoyed the relationships the teachers had with the students. The class sizes are small, so the teachers form strong bonds with the kids. They would joke around all the time. The policies at Messmer are very strict however. They have uniforms, and are not allowed to chew gum. Those are the major differences of the school.

Another major difference is the race and culture. CMH is a primarily Caucasian school, while Messmer is a primarily African-American and Latino school. I must admit, it was really cool being in a room surrounded with people of the same race as myself. But the switch was not about the color of our skin, but rather to experience the differences between the schools. Darren Welch, Sarah Lange’s partner, summed it up perfectly when he said, “When I was at CMH, the kids didn’t just talk to me because I was black; they talked to me because they wanted to get to know me, for me.”
I greatly enjoyed my day at Messmer, along with the day at CMH. I know I have made friendships that will grow more and more each day. My friends and I are actually planning on going bowling with some of the kids in the next couple weeks. I have talked to a lot of the Messmer kids since I left, and they all enjoyed the switch, as did the CMH kids. I cannot wait until next year. Hopefully I will be able to go again!

From Fr. Paul -- I want to thank all of the students who participated in the Messmer/CMH switch days. Both schools were well represented by outstanding young people. Thanks to Br. Bob Smith, OFM Cap., President of Messmer schools, and Jeff Monday, Principal of Messmer High School (and an eight year classmate of mine from St. John Vianney Grade School) for their work and support of the endeavor. Lastly, that you to Jennifer Denton and the CMH faculty who facilitated this program from our side.

Thank you also to Cameron for his willingness to share his experiences.

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