Live United helps H-F High end year on positive note

Overcome a negative with a positive.
  Homewood-Flossmoor High
  School students organized a
  Live United campaign.
 (Provided photos)

That’s what students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School decided to do in the final week of class. 

After a turbulent month of dealing with a racial incident triggered by four students wearing blackface, a group of students organized Live United, a campaign designed to bring students together.
Spurred on by H-F counselor Lorrie Maul, the students, who she knew through Operation Snowball, worked with her on the campaign that reached more than 1,000 students at H-F.
  H-F High School students
  came up to sign a pact to work
  toward peace, acceptance,
  community and tolerance.


“They wanted to do something more positive, and so I came up with the idea for the T-shirts,” Maul said. She gave the students the idea of Live United, but they wanted to add more to it. They had ideas in mind – peace, tolerance, acceptance.

Maul said they came up the acronym PACT. The students liked the idea especially because they could play off the word pact.
“The easiest way to share our message was through a pact,” said senior Morgan Murphy of Homewood.
The whole thing came together over a weekend. The team finalized a message and decided students would sign a pact to move H-F forward using those four ideals: peace, acceptance, community, tolerance. 
 Maul took money from the Operation Snowball account to buy 1,000 shirts in bright colors of orange, green, berry, red and blue. 
“The reason we wanted so many colors is because we wanted the school to know it wasn’t just separate but united force. We have differences but we still come together at the end of the day,” Murphy explained.
Maul said Besse’s Shirt and Lettering in Lansing was able to finish the order in three days.
On Thursday, May 16, an announcement was made during all lunch periods in the North and South Buildings inviting students to sign a PACT poster. Once they signed, they got a Live United/PACT T-shirt.
“It wasn’t just a free T-shirt. There have been a lot of difficult things that we’ve all had to deal with and that coming together for one common good is very important. This shirt is carrying the message through our school and our community,” Murphy said.
“Everyone seemed very accepting of our message,” said senior Kathryn Holland of Flossmoor.
The effort worked. On Friday, May 17, H-F was a sea of color.
“The next day when we saw everyone wearing the shirts it kind of brought a smile to everyone’s faces because you had something in common,” said senior Emily Mullins of Homewood.
“It sparked a lot of conversations, too. I heard of people making new friends just through the shirts,” said junior Kaylyn Pennick of Hazel Crest.
Maul said she had to run a list of students who didn’t get a shirt. She put an order in for another 250 shirts and said if she’d had more they would have been distributed too.
The effort left H-F students with good feelings, which meant a lot to Mullins and other seniors.
“It was something positive to talk about, rather than the very heavy negative. It was a nice change,” she said.

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