By Dan Chen ’24
On May 3rd, 2022, the student body participated in an alternative programming day where each form took part in a different activity relating to gender and relationships. Students had the first seated lunch of the year, and after lunch, students discussed with facilitators what they had watched or learned.
The third formers watched The Social Dilemma (2020). It featured ex-employees of big tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, who shared their experiences working there and their opinions on how technology can be addicting for youth and harm society. The freshmen groups discussed how social media affects mental health, and many learned to check their screen time to limit spending too much time on their phones.
The fourth formers watched the documentary The Mask You Live In (2015), about how masculinity affects society and how society forces men to “wear a mask” that hides their real thoughts and emotions. The film discussed how drugs, parents, school, and violence play a role in shaping a boy’s perception of masculinity, as well as how that masculinity can force boys to act tough in public, even if they are facing depression.
The fifth formers watched two short videos produced by One Love about unhealthy relationships. One of the videos, Escalation (2015), demonstrated a traditional couple’s relationship as it spirals into an abusive one. Then, the junior class discussed the vital signs of an unhealthy relationship, such as isolation and manipulation. Logan McNabb ‘23 summarizes, “I think the topics we discussed are important for us to hear as boys. It is not always men who lead unhealthy relationships but it is important that we know the signs and how not to perpetrate or get involved in one.”
The sixth formers greeted two speakers. J. Tom Morgan, a legal expert, spoke about legal tips going into college. Linda Hancock, a college educator, taught sex education, and many found it humorous.
The alternative programming day was well received by students and faculty alike. Not only did students have a day off from class, but many felt educated on how they can impact society as boys and gained new insights on having well-founded relationships in the future.