Upstander of the issue

Meet Chardonnay Beaver.

Quinn Sullivan

An Upstander is someone who acts to make positive change. Sophomore Chardonnay Beaver is an active leader at Garfield and involved in her own programs to make a difference. Here is what Chardonnay has to say and a few among many reasons that she is an Upstander:

What leadership roles do you hold in this school?

I am sophomore class president. Other programs that involve my leadership are Bulldog Prevention Squad (BPS). I actually started this with a group of my close friends in middle school and so we decided to continue our legacy and bring it to Garfield.

What is BPS?

BPS initially started with us in middle school and we were noticing in the Central District just some friends who we’ve grown up with in elementary school either join gangs, or get into drugs, or alcohol, and stray away from school and their academic path for success. And it really scared us. So we want to encourage that no matter what life you live, say “no” to drugs because there’s always alternatives and if you need a voice or if you feel like you’re voice isn’t heard, we are here. What we have been doing this year is working on how to get that message out there. We aren’t trying to preach “don’t do drugs, don’t drink,” but instead “this percentage of students don’t do drugs, join the party.”

What other big things are you focused on right now?

Mediating with students is something that I’m really trying to work on this year and actually get going here at Garfield, whether that’s teacher-student mediation or student-student mediation. What that looks like is me just sitting down with the student and talking about the conflict. A lot of these issues are about unintentional or irrational reactions so my goal is to come in as a leader and just as a peer. So come in and, you know, “What I hear you saying is this. Can you explain it to that person so they get a clearer view?” Fixing misinterpretations so that they leave the meeting feeling good.

Where does your passion and motivation come from?

It’s a series of things, but my dad has always taught me that there is value in people and so when you go out of what you think is your path, you realize that as you interact with others, they are pushing you even further to where you want to go. The more interactions that I have, the bigger I can build the community. Community has always been important to me and I think that just starts within my family. It’s important to me that I build a community because my family started here and just knowing where I belong, but also making sure that others feel like they belong, whether I agree with your beliefs or I don’t, I am still going to honor your position within the community because it’s valuable. It’s like we all carry a brick and the more we piece our bricks together we can make a wall.

What outlook do you have around the future of Garfield and the community?

The more people are able to look at the positive, the better their scope is of the school. If we just focus on the positivity and the energy of each other and we know how to act off of that, there are so many things we can do.

If you are interested in talking more with Chardonnay about her work, feel free to stop by the Activity Center during 2nd period/email her at [email protected].

Photo by Freya Wiedemann