Keneti Galo visited Somerset College, presenting a talk to our youngest members of the Senior School. Read two reports and learn what these students gained from the visit.
“This is why you don’t put women in charge.”
“The boys did it in two minutes and you didn’t get it done in the eight minutes!”
“What is wrong with you?”
If you heard these things being said to someone, would you think it was wrong?
The more important question, would you stand up to the person saying it... even if he was an invited guest speaker?
Five volunteers were selected from the Year 7 girls to complete a task. I was ‘fortunate’ to be one of these people. We were given the mission, as a team, to rescue the ‘Year 7 cohort’ (a plastic container) out from the centre of the ‘acid’ using the tools – which consisted of rope, crepe paper, scissors, a mask etc. Sounds easy right? The only problem was that the pressure was intense! We weren’t allowed to talk to each other, 140 eyes were locked onto us, blaring music was ringing in our ears and as we attempted – and failed – to complete the challenge, our guest speaker Keneti was yelling out words of disdain and ridicule. The words written above.
After our failure, Keneti asked the audience what were the ‘barriers’ of this activity. Many hands shot up. The students were saying things such as “not being able to talk”, “the limited resources” and “the music”. However, when I told him my answer of how his comments weren’t very encouraging, his attitude changed. I was berated with “Oh! So, it’s my fault is it?” He told me to stand aside by myself and continued asking people for their opinions. Luckily two other girls Jodie and Aleeza gave similar responses saying that Keneti’s words were part of the problem. They too were sent away to stand next to me.
Finally, he reverted back to his original kind self and said that the behaviour he displayed was completely unacceptable and if any of us witness anyone acting in this aggressive manner, we must stand up to them. It was great to hear that this was the first session he had taught where three people stood up to him. By the end of the session, I'm sure all the girls in our cohort would have stood up to him!
We tried the mission again, this time with no boundaries. Since we had the ability to discuss strategy, overwhelming support from the audience, tranquil music and encouragement from Keneti, we completed the task in two minutes! This shows the power of unity and positivity. Afterwards my friends and I were discussing the message we took away and it was mainly about standing up for what’s right and that there is strength in numbers. So, the more people who stand up against abusers- the better.
Keneti’s talk was very inspiring, as he shared many of his valuable life lessons with us and encouraged us to stand up for what is right. He explained how hurtful comments can negatively affect performance. However, Keneti said if we learned to face them in the right way, there would be a greater likelihood for success. He says that teamwork and support create a sense of safety and encouragement. Standing up for what is right proves that we are united all together as one.
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