Kent students come together to plan K-Day event

It’s not often you get student leaders from four rival high schools working together on the same project.

The rivalries between the four Kent School District comprehensive high schools run deep, but this year the inter-high associated student body program has been resurrected.

At a conference last year students from Kent-Meridian High and Kentlake High heard Mike Smith, who is the founder of both Skate for Change and The Bay, speak at a conference.

Smith encourages teenagers through the two organizations to go after their dreams and works with skateboarders to help the homeless in their communities. According to Smith’s website, he is passionate about encouraging teens to live their dreams, give back to their communities and be extraordinary. He also travels as a motivational speaker and plans to skateboard from New York City to Los Angeles this summer.

The students from the two Kent schools were so impressed by Smith that they wanted their peers to hear his message, too.

Smith came to the four schools and spoke during assemblies and with leadership students.

“He resonated with all the Kent high school kids,” said Megan Morgan, Kent-Meridian teacher, activities director and leadership advisor.

At that time the idea to share the message with the community was born and the inter-high ASB met for the first time before the Thanksgiving break.

The result of the meetings was the concept of hosting K-Day, an event that would unite the schools and the community and challenge attendees to consider what they want their impact on the world to be.

The theme for the event is “Leave your legacy” and speakers will include Smith, former NFL football player Jeff Jaeger and Kyler Martin, of Hope 4 Homeless. The event will also include a performance by Stefano Langone.

“I’m really excited to see what kind of unity comes out of this,” said K-M senior April Nguyen.

During a planning meeting at Kentwood last week, the students went over final preparations and details, T-shirt designs,and talked about the strategy for getting word out about the event.

“As four high schools, we’re always at games and competing against each other, but this is bringing us together,” Kentwood senior Pamela Villaruz said.

The idea behind the theme, K-M senior Alex Dunmire said, was to keep it broad because they hope it will become an annual event, with each year having a different focus under the idea of “leave your legacy.”

Admission to the event is a clean pair of new socks or $1, which will be donated through Smith’s charity.

The students said they were looking forward to bucking the often negative stereotype of teenagers and to build up their community.

“I’m really excited to host an event (and) the fact that we’re hosting this as the four Kent high schools,” said Zak Buckles, a senior at Kentridge.

“Not only are we Kent as one but we don’t always have to compete,” Kentwood senior Shannon Parnley. “It shines a very positive light on our city.”

If you go:

K-Day will be held at French Field at Kent-Meridian High School from 7-9 p.m. on May 12.

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