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Jamnesty showcases student talent, raises awareness

Sophie Mason

Mindful music: Playing on stage, junior Megan Heublen, sophomore Jack Sundstrom (left) and junior Jack Quinones (right) perform at Jamnesty, April 13. The students contributed to the show and to peace week, raising awareness and playing music.

Cassidy Jackson, co-a&e editor

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On April 13, Amnesty International and STAND for Peace (STAND) hosted their annual Jamnesty event, capping off STAND’s Peace Week. According to STAND sponsor Matthew Whipple, Jamnesty puts live music, dance performances, slam poetry and activism all under one roof.

The activism portion of Jamnesty comes from the event’s overarching goal, raising money to split between STAND and Amnesty International’s causes. According to Whipple, STAND’s donations go towards putting Purity, a girl living in Kenya, through high school, while Amnesty International’s portion of the money goes to refugee programs.

“STAND pays for the school fees for a girl in Kenya to go to school $1500 a year for uniforms, supplies, meals, access to school,” Whipple said. “We promised we would get her through high school, so it’s a four year commitment, and we’re coming up on the end of year two or three. Some of the funds will go to that and the other funds will go to refugee assistance programs […].”

The show resembled a mini version of V-show, except looser in structure, according to Whipple. Whipple explains that Jamnesty’s lack of a theme allowed for more creativity and students’ ability to make the event whatever they wanted.

“[Jamnesty differs from V-show in that Jamnesty has] no preconceived framework for what the performances will look like,” Whipple said. “We allow for a greater level of creativity to some extent. It can be whatever the students want to bring to it.”

Expanding on the topic of flexibility, senior Katie Woodrick, who performed a poem entitled “Swingset” by Andrea Gibson, appreciated Jamnesty’s low level of commitment, allowing more students, including herself, to take part. For Woodrick trying out for Jamnesty was a spur of the moment decision.

“I didn’t know when auditions were previously, and I saw it on Facebook and thought it would be a really cool opportunity,” Woodrick said. “I really didn’t look into it before, but […] I decided to just go for it this year. V-show is very committed and takes up a long duration of time, which didn’t really work with my schedule, but this is more easy going and something that I decided a few weeks ahead ‘Hey! I’m gonna do this.’”

Coinciding with Jamnesty’s focus on important issues, Woodrick explains why exactly she chose the poem she did. According to Woodrick, “Swingset” by Andrea Gibson focuses on the underrated importance of childhood innocence, and in Woodrick’s eyes, it’s a message students needed to hear.

“[Andrea Gibson] was a former preschool teacher, and she talks about […] childhood innocence [and] how children are open to gender fluidity,” Woodrick said. “[To children], you’re not just a boy or a girl. You have the potential to teach other people [and] to be a nice person. We as an older generation need to learn from that.”

Junior Miracle Josaiah’s poem entitled “The Average Black Girl” had a message that she felt was essential for the GBS population to hear too. Josaiah explains that the poem’s focus on racial stereotyping is a message that can bust the Glenview bubble. According to Josaiah, the poem pushes the idea that the we are all different, but Glenview brings us all together.

“There are black people that grew up in the North Shore, so they talk nice […],” Josaiah said. “[…] White people [say things like] ‘You’re better and you’re different because you talk more white,’ but in reality they’re still being rude and degrading us. It’s a way to say to the audience, […] the average [“ghetto”] black girl that you’re talking about […] [she’s] still an amazing black person. Living in the North Shore, it’s knowing that we’re all the same and we all have a certain background and that’s kind of what states who we are not how we look or how we talk.”

According to senior Sam Hicks, who performed “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and “Right as Rain” by Adele, a large element of any performance is the happiness you evoke from the audience. As she performs, she loves seeing the reaction from the crowd.

“I see people smiling, and it makes me happy to see that people are actually enjoying the music,” Hicks said.

As the show came to a close, Whipple hopes that students left feeling like they had a good time, but most importantly, he hopes they left feeling informed and empowered. According to Whipple, students, as individuals and as GBS’ community, have the potential to impact the world.

“The original concept of Jamnesty was to have an opportunity to bring students together, listen to student performances, but also focus on thinking about human rights, […] human dignity, [and] thinking about how we as a group of people at [GBS] can uniquely leave [Jamnesty] and create a better place […],” Whipple said. “It’s not just about students playing instruments, or students reciting poetry, there is an underlying theme […].”

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School
Jamnesty showcases student talent, raises awareness