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St. Martin introduces PRIDE mantra to improve school culture

With the arrival of a new school year, a new set of core values has been implemented by teacher David St. Martin to improve the school culture at Walpole High School (WHS): PRIDE. The letters in PRIDE each represent a different quality: Positivity, Respect, Integrity, Drive and Empathy.

PRIDE poster in the music wing hallway. (Photo/Allie Millette)

St. Martin organized the program after he noticed an absence of school culture and enthusiasm at the high school. After talking with several other teachers and students, he realized he was not the only one noticing the lack in school spirit.

“I could see us declining,” St. Martin said. “I heard messages from private schools on what they were telling parents and kids about their schools. I just felt we needed a jumpstart.”

Students attended assemblies on the first few days of school where St. Martin introduced PRIDE, and each grade signed a PRIDE banner that was hung in the hallways. He provided students with an overview of PRIDE, and students were encouraged to find new ways to engage in the behavior that PRIDE represents. Students and faculty were challenged to hold each other accountable by consistently asking one another how they were showing PRIDE.

Students searching for their names on a PRIDE poster. (Photo/ Samantha Simons)

“I think that PRIDE is actually a very good initiative because my first few years in high school I did notice a lot of negativity. With PRIDE teachers and students are becoming more active and supportive of each other and the community,” junior Maggie Wall said.

St. Martin believes that if both the students and teachers are exhibiting PRIDE, the values will be easier to engage in every day at school. Some teachers included PRIDE in their classroom management plans on the first day of school and hung up PRIDE posters in their classrooms. On Sept. 15, the Walpole Athletic Department held their first PRIDE dance after the boys football game against Wellesley. Students attended the dance to show their support for WHS sports. St. Martin hopes that in the future PRIDE will be seamlessly embedded into the WHS culture.

A Walpole Rebels sign hung in the library. (Photo/ Allie Millette)

“I basically told the faculty that we can’t expect this from our students if we’re not doing it also, so I want kids to be able to look and say, ‘my teachers showing it, so I can too’,” St. Martin said.

The plan for this new mantra is to incorporate these five qualities into the curriculum, the school culture and everyday interactions between students and faculty. He suggested that teachers attend more WHS events and actively embody these traits both inside and outside their classrooms.

A PRIDE poster hung in the english wing. (Photo/Allie Millette)

“I want PRIDE to be something that we just do automatically. Just to have Walpole High be a better place, where we’re a lot more positive, we show people more respect, where we empathize,” St. Martin said. “I want it to be a place where kids can just feel comfortable with who they are and not feel they have to be a certain way to fit in.”

Correction: PRIDE dance was organized by the Walpole Athletic Department. In the printed version of this article, the dance was incorrectly attributed to WHS. (Made 10/12/18).

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