D211 Post: Fremd Students Work to Build Stronger Student Community

Orange notes decorate the halls of William Fremd during W.A.C. Week.

            When William Fremd High School sophomore Nora Joerger learned of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, she felt compelled to do something to help.  After a conversation with Fremd High School Early Childhood Development Teacher Erin Fasse, meetings with school administration, and discussions with other students, Joerger and 10 of her classmates decided to create the first-ever W.A.C. Week. 

            Joerger said the idea was to build a stronger community within Fremd High School.

            “We were thinking, how can we do this without it becoming political,” she said.  “So, we were thinking if we could just build our community, that would be the best goal for the school.”

            Fasse said after speaking with Joerger, she had multiple students in her early childhood development class talking about wanting to have their voices heard on issues involving the Parkland tragedy. 

            “I thought this could be a real teachable moment,” Fasse said.  “Throughout that period, we discussed ways to help.  The next day we brainstormed different ideas to make everyone feel like a part of the community, safe and aware.”

            By day three, the decision was made to create a spirit week.

William Fremd High School students (from left to right) Nora Joerger, Olivia Budzisz, Sarah Stevens, Jenny Mitchell, and Vito Giannis were the core designers of the school’s 1st ever W.A.C. Week.

            The name W.A.C. Week was originally the idea of sophomore Sarah Stevens.  The three focuses of the week are wellness, awareness, and community.  Stevens said as the team was brainstorming ideas, she decided to simply use the first letter of each focal idea to create the name.

            “We were all spitting out names like community week, Viking Strong, and Ms. Fasse came up with Wellness, Awareness, and Community,” she said.  “I thought that was too long, so I just took the first letters, and I said, ‘W.A.C. Week.’  I was sort of joking, but everyone decided that was actually very good, so we went with it.”

            Over the course of the week, orange Post-it notes with words of encouragement like “We’re glad you’re here,” and “love yourself, love others,” decorated the halls.  Students were encouraged to pull them off and hand them to friends or strangers as a means of encouragement.

            Junior Jenny Mitchell believes the true impact of W.A.C. Week will be seen for years to come.

            “It was hard spreading the word this year because it has never happened before,” she said.  “I feel like in the coming years, upper-classmen will know more about it and tell underclassmen.”

            She added that her hope is future freshmen knowing about and looking forward to W.A.C. Week the same as other spirit weeks such as the school’s widely known Writer’s Week.

Fremd High School Freshman Megan Keith signs a banner which reads “We All Count” during Fremd’s W.A.C. Week.