AWOD Training Preps Students for Future Service

Huntington's A World of Difference club promotes unity among groups.

April 03, 2017

Huntington High School’s A World of Difference club is better known by the acronym AWOD. It’s been in existence for several decades and continues to make positive contributions to the school community, promoting unity among various groups, recognizing bias and the harm it does to individuals and society, building understanding of the value of diversity and confronting racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism.

“Resilience and the process of adapting well in the face of adversity was the theme of the weekend training where the students explored their expectations for themselves and others, their fears and ultimately their own unique coping skills,” said teacher Suzie Biagi, who serves as AWOD’s co-faculty advisor along with retired librarian Camille DeCanio.

Ms. Biagi said the “recipe for resilience” was processed as training participants practiced their communication skills and problem solving talents and talked about how they manage their own individual feelings and “stressors.”

“There was time to listen to each other, look at 10 ways to build resilience and explore the commonalities between them, ultimately confirming that all the skills we need are truly within our reach,” Ms. Biagi said.

After setting a “safe stage,” AWOD members participated in “around the room” and “cross the line” activities along with graffiti boards and other training vehicles.

“This training is a wonderful opportunity for the group to embrace each other’s strengths and differences and to start our planning for our ‘piece de resistance;’ our annual fifth grade training program, which is scheduled for Friday, May 26,” junior Dani Black said. “The better we know ourselves and each other the better we can help youngsters when we are their peer trainers for the day.”

J. Taylor Finley Middle School family and consumer science teacher Sharon Holly pitched in to help during the recent AWOD training session. “Working with this wonderful group of students makes me feel hopeful that a world of inclusiveness is entirely possible and much closer than we realize,” she said.