This spring, after five weeks learning practical skills for engaging with people of different backgrounds at their home schools, Roosevelt and Garfield High School Connections 101 students came together to explore beyond the classroom in several Connections 201 activities. On April 29, Connections 201 brought them to the Indigenous Walking Tour guided by Roosevelt alum Owen Oliver (Quinault/Isleta Pueblo) who created the project while he was a student at the University of Washington.
The Connections students were curious about each other and took in the information along stops including the Burke Museum, Indigenous artworks, the Medicinal Herb Garden, the Ethnic Cultural Center and the Union Bay Natural Area. Along the way, they were engaged and asked poignant questions. At one stop, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, they wondered why the UW longhouse was called “Intellectual House”. They felt the Lushootseed translation, “House of Knowledge”, would have been the better choice.
Throughout the tour the students also shared stories about their Connections experience. Marissa, a student from Garfield who moved to the US from Mexico less than a year ago, found the Connections space provided a safe space for her to show up as herself. She felt that it gave her an intimate and encouraging environment for practicing her English and her language skills improved a lot.
Another student said she joined for “something to do” and because the program sounded interesting. She did not need service hours offered for participating in Connections.
Several students wished there had been more: more time to go “deeper” in conversations, more events, more connection. They deeply appreciated both the Connections 101 course and the rich 201 opportunities to connect with each other and enhance what they learned in the classroom.
If anyone in the RARE community would like to share the Connections 201 experience, the self-guided Indigenous Walking Tour is waiting for you to explore.