Common Ground Penumbra presentation kick-starts important discussions


How students interact with each other, where they socialize, and the false ideas about the community all affect students’ lives and perspective. Common Ground (in collaboration with Intercultural Club, and Muslim Student Alliance) brought in H. Adam Harris from Penumbra on Apr. 17 to discuss these aspects – people, places, and myths – of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School community. Harris is the Associate Director of Programming at Penumbra and a Penumbra Company member. He, along with the students participating, started a conversation not only what the school is but what it could and should be.

“The goal was to get the community more involved,” said participant and senior Kathryn Schmechel. The organizing student groups heard requests for a more interactive presentation and responded with an engaging activity that relied and audience participation. They had sent representatives to advisories days before to collect information about the students’ thoughts and integrated the results of the poll into the presentation. On Wednesday of the same week, they sent advisories follow up questions to ensure that the conversations continue long after the assembly.

Amodhya Samarakoon
Senior Phoebe Pannier raises her hand to answer a question.

“I hope other students continue to appreciate the presence of Penumbra at St. Paul Academy and Summit School and have a new appreciation for their peers,” Schmechel said. “I also hope that there is a renewed sense of activism, and that people will want to see through the changes they wish to see at SPA.”

For seniors moving on to college, Harris’ comments are still meant to raise important questions applicable to communities outside of SPA. “I think that appreciating your surroundings and continuing to think through some of the changes you might want to see in your college, and what you can do to make those changes possible, is an incredibly important lesson,” she said.

Amodhya Samarakoon
Muslim Student Alliance member and junior Iya Abdulkarim explains one of the myths about SPA.