Bobcats celebrates patriotism

On Nov. 22, Banyan Elementary hosted a Patriotic Day Assembly to honor the veterans who have served our community and schools that reside in Newbury Park.

Instead of it being the adults and staff at Banyan holding the assembly, a group of students took charge. Allison Kennedy, the Banyan Principal, believed that with the kids in charge, it made more of an impact. “I think it’s more meaningful for kids when they have to think about what they want to say and what it means to them and come up with concepts of what to do. It’s really more powerful this year because of that,” Kennedy said.

The main goal of the assembly was to show gratitude towards the veterans. “We intended on honoring the guests by giving flowers and flags. We intended to show our  patriotism by singing patriotic songs and we had a lot of decorations hanging up around the school showing our patriotism and our gratitude,” Kennedy said.

Since the theme of the assembly is “We are Thankful,” Kennedy believes that, “it really helps kids heal from all the tragedies that have happened in the past year,” she said. “I think it means a lot to our community that […] we’re able to come back together and honor all these people that helped us.”

In Kennedy’s opening speech to the assembly, she said, “We have watched out beloved mount boney burn not once, but twice over the past year yet even though our school is less than a mile away, not one of us lost our homes and our beloved school was always safe. You make it possible for the rest of us to sleep at night because you keep us safe.”

Bill Gorback, the clerk of the CVUSD Board, attended the We are Thankful Assembly. He recognized Kennedy’s opening speech. “I think Mrs. Kennedy did a great job explaining how close the fires were to this school, and yet no one lost anybody because of the people who were sitting up here; it was the school giving thanks to the community,” Gorback said.

Gorback believes that at first, kids can often initially be scared of the police uniform but here they “get to see that these people are human, they’re not only just police men and women, they are also a human being. They don’t have to see them just as an officer. They can see them as a person who has an office,” Gorback said.

Lauren Bisenius, a 4th grader at Banyan who the Prowler received parent permission to interview, was one of the students who held the assembly. “I wanted to motivate them to have fun, to feel proud to be an American, and to feel thankful for the heroes in our Banyan community,” Bisenius said. 

Being one of the organizers of the assembly, Bisenius had several jobs. “I introduced the Banyans who sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless the USA.” Later, I helped distribute roses and flags to the kids so they could give them to their special guests,” Bisenius said. 

“I enjoyed working with the other students and teachers for this assembly. It was fun preparing and working with Mrs. Kennedy,” Biensius said.

In this meeting, the time on the agenda dedicated to public comments were/was? flooded with different views surrounding sex education, with anecdotes from concerned parents to professional psychiatrists weighing in with either their opinions. 

Starting off the public comments, Ivani, a professor? Of gender studies and a board-certified general medecine practicing physician gave her opinion on those against sex eduxation, backed by her expertise and experience.” I’m here specifically tonight because some of the comments I’ve heard at the meetings as well as in the community in general have been riddled with a lot of misinformation, and a lack of education to be honest,” Ivani said. “This is something that needs to be decided between a child and their psychiatrist. These children need an individualized plan…They need to be diagnosed by a child psychiatrist before you make any further accommodations”

Ginger Brandenberg, former Moorpark High School English teacher, believes that education regarding sexual orientation should not be taught in schools because of their connection to religion. “introducing topics of gender at an early age may cause confusion and religious questions,” Brandenberg said. “To me, this belongs in the home. Let families teach religion in their own belief system at the appropriate age of the children.”

Another public commenter, John Holden, physician, generalized the controversy “I’m very aware that this is a very touchy and difficult subject for adolescents and their parents, of course, have a whole range of opinions and ideas, but the adolescents themselves are facing their own lack of understanding,” Holden said.

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