Don't understand what WHACK means? That's precisely the point. Prompted by a slew of racially charged incidences that occurred at the Oregon City High School, the student council members were determined to help change the environment at their school for the better. After some brainstorming and careful planning, the student council group launched the WHACK, Working Hard At Creating Kindness, campaign.
Equipped with their simple yet powerful message, and funding from Oregon City Together, the student council blanketed the school in flyers, posters, sold t-shirts, and passed out stickers, all with just one word on it; WHACK. "If you see the signs or t-shirts and don't know what WHACK means, you want to ask. Then when you learn it means Working Hard At Creating Kindness, it reminds you what a positive thing that is, and that we all need to make a conscious effort to do just that." OC parent, Karen Lane commented. An ambiguous word was exactly the point of using a message that nobody knew. The student council members wanted a dialogue to start amongst their fellow students. To ask each other what WHACK meant, also started a conversation about being kind to one another, and was a reminder that being inclusive and welcoming to all students, regardless of differences, created a diverse and exceptional learning environment.
Oregon City Together, a youth substance abuse prevention organization, was proud to be able to contribute to an amazing campaign that was completely youth led. "Some people may not see the connection between youth substance abuse prevention and a campaign like WHACK," parent and OCT Board Member, Karen Lane says. "But the reality is that when people work hard at being kind to one another and inclusive of each other, people are less likely to abuse substances like drugs and alcohol because they don't feel left out or alone."
The WHACK swag has continued to be passed around, with more than 3000 stickers and 300 t-shirts distributed so far. The student council has also challenged their fellow students and administrators alike to participate in weekly "WHACK challenges," an opportunity to be recognized and appreciated for an act of kindness, that is displayed on their OCTV broadcasts. “This year our school experienced multiple acts of hate from a small group of students. This gave OCHS a bad reputation and made out students feel unsafe in our halls.” Devyn Glenn, organizer of the WHACK campaign and student council member said. “However, my committee knew that these acts weren’t the majority opinion. We wanted a creative way for the kindness from the majority of students to overshadow the hate at our school.” For a response that started from the negative acts of a few, the positive ramifications that came out of this campaign appear to be much farther reaching and much longer lasting, a great lesson to be learned from our future leaders.