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Skaneateles exchange with Fowler begins

     The popular and much-awaited “exchange program” between Fowler and Skaneateles High Schools is in full swing.
     Skaneateles students “shadowed” at Fowler first and then Fowler students spent a day at Skaneateles High School.  It is the beginning of what will become an intense experience for about 20 students from each school who are involved in the exchange.
     Over the course of five day-long sessions, students (led by trained student facilitators from each school) will have raw and intimate conversations that will break down stereotypes and biases. Each year, students from the two schools start out as strangers. They part as friends, and as people with broader perspectives.
    “We learn so much from the kids,” said Karen Calenzo, program coordinator through Interfairth Works. “They really soak this in and have a lot of insight about white privilege, cultural biases, assumptions and stereotypes.  It is so wonderful to see them develop these relationships which they will have the rest of their lives.”
     Lekia K. Hill, dialogue coordinator for Interfaith Works, sees great hope from these school-to-school exchanges, which bring people together at young ages. “I see change. I see new generations of hope.”
     Dialogue is important and effective at all ages, and especially when started young, said Hill.  “This is how they come together to understand.”  Hill has been involved in many aspects of social justice.  It is with the dialogue piece, she said, that change really happens. “Dialogue is the piece that can tie it all together.”
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Lynda Quick
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152