By Adam Sodders
Courtesy of The Times-Republican
“It was a really fun project, to get to know these students and to help put a face and a voice to our diversity.”
Marshalltown Schools Communications Director Andrew Potter said a video released earlier this week, titled “Proud to be Diverse,” shows the breadth of diversity among district students and staff.
“I’ve been in classrooms the last couple of months, taking video of students reciting each line from this poem called ‘I am,’” Potter said. “We finally released it (Wednesday), and it’s kind of a way to show that our schools are diverse, and that it’s something we’re proud of.”
The poem itself has origins within the district. It was written during the 2015-16 school year by Marshalltown High School English teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.
“I write an original poem every year for Academic Awards Night; I tend to have students perform it” she said, adding district Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte thought of including the poem in the video. “Dr. Schutte started this conversation with Andrew and I about the poem and the poem’s usage, and I was totally for it.”
Potter said the video includes students from “all different grade levels from all different schools here.”
In all, 21 students from the elementary-, intermediate-, middle- and high school levels participated in the video.
“The students have been pretty excited to be a part of it, and it’s fun to see them have fun in this video,” Potter said, adding the process of making the video began in January. “It’s from every building we have; it’s a nice cross-section of students.”
Frohwein said she was inspired to write the poem by the diversity of the MHS student population.
“Part of my individual learning projects for the year, as an educator, is to look at the climate that we’re in, and the culture that we’re in, and try to promote it,” she said. “I think (the poem) is a showcase that Marshalltown High School has such a diverse population, and that we all come together in one place to learn.”
Frohwein added she likes the message the district video conveys.
“I think it’s important that we remember that we have such a diverse population and we teach all students here, regardless of race or background or anything else,”she said.