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A Newtown/Danbury Student Exchange



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A Newtown/Danbury Student Exchange

            By Sarah Walton

Nearly 50 Newtown High School students participated in a student exchange with Danbury High School on October 19 and October 21. During these exchanges, students shadowed each other in classes, ate lunch together and met each other’s friends.

NHS social studies teacher Amy Repay said this year’s student exchange was a success.

Ms Repay said she teaches two Conversations on Race classes and a Multicultural Perspectives class, both of which participate in the exchange.

“Danbury students came to Newtown on [October 19], and Newtown students went there on [October 21],” she said. “Kids were raving about it; they want to do it again.”

This was the second exchange with Danbury High School, and there will be another exchange in the spring, according to Ms Repay. Students from both Newtown and Danbury will go to Harlem on December 3, said Ms Repay, which will allow the classes to work together again.

Prior to the field trips, students participated in an activity called “First Thoughts,” according to Ms Repay.

“In this activity they have to reveal their uncensored thoughts,” said Ms Repay. “The goal of the class and the field trip is to confront stereotypes head on.”

After the exchange, Ms Repay said students learned stereotypes come from somewhere, but they do not apply to everyone.

“They also realize that everyone does not have an equal education,” she said.

Ms Repay described her classes as “inspired,” as some students want to create murals about diversity within the high school.

“Some of my juniors told me they’re looking for colleges with more diversity, which they hadn’t thought of before this class,” she added.

According to Ms Repay, students become more aware of how skin color affects society throughout the class.

“They deal with black-white relationships throughout history,” said Ms Repay.

Students also find a problem in Newtown as their final project, she said, and come up with a solution.

“Many Danbury kids thought students in Newtown were ignorant about race when they did the ‘First Thoughts’ exercise,” she said. “My students want to show they aren’t like that.”

 Overall, Ms Repay feels the Conversations on Race and Multicultural Perspectives classes are important for students.

“The impact on kids is good; these classes are teaching kids life lessons they would not get here,” she said.

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