Grand Island Public Schools
123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
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Up With People works with GISH students to 'respect each other as humans'


More than 140 Grand Island Senior High choir students attended a workshop with Up With People on Aug. 29 at GISH.

Up With People is a global education and service organization. The group tours the world putting on performances, empowering young people and encouraging people to understand and respect one another. The group also does community service projects. Up With People was in town for the Nebraska State Fair, Aug. 26-Sept. 3.

The workshop focused on active listening activities so students could learn how to better understand those who have different opinions.

Rilee Webb, a recruiter for Up With People, said the choir students did an activity where she asked the question with the statement “I believe that anyone, regardless of their beliefs, should be able to express those beliefs in public.” Students then chose a side, whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement. The split was nearly even.

Students then paired up with someone from the opposite side, and talked about why they thought differently.

“It’s all about getting them to have conversations and respect each other as humans, which is so important,” Webb said. “They practiced how to have a conversation with a human being and understand where they’re coming from, instead of getting upset and confrontational.”

Webb said the goal of Up With People is to elevate people in order to make a positive environment in the world.

She said the whole goal of the workshop with the GISH choir students was to “elevate them as people, give them a broader perspective and give them skills they can take with them into their daily lives.”

Up With People at GISH

Case Hatfield, a junior, said he learned that people “need to be willing to know more about others, and willing to understand where they’re coming from.”

Hatfield said he came away from the workshop a little surprised with how much he had in common with his peers who thought differently than he did. Among the disagreement, he and his partner were able to find positivity and similarities between them.

Elise Vahle, a junior, said her big takeaway from the workshop was understanding others’ genuine opinions and why they think the way they do.

She said though her peers had differing opinions, she felt unified and connected with them.
“I feel like it was a really open environment to be able to listen to each other without being made fun of for thinking differently,” Vahle said.

She said if more people did a similar workshop, it would create more healthy environments.

“Ultimately, it’s about being a good person and accepting other people,” Vahle said.

Up With People works with GISH students

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Jack Sheard, Marketing & Communications
308-385-5900 Ext. 1127
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