Every February, Dana Hall Upper School students participate in Ship Day, a day outside of the regular class schedule dedicated to exploring health and wellness issues. For the third year in a row, Middle School students joined in the day’s activities.
Peer Education Co-heads S. Lagarde ’21
and Z. Szeman ’21
led the planning for all-virtual Ship Day 2021, along with Peer Educators I. Goldberg ’21
, E. Moss ’22
and G. Funes ’22
. The co-heads learned about Cheyenne Tyler Jacobs
through the Georgetown Day School Summit on Sexual Assault and Consent they had attended in November and recommended her as the day’s keynote. Jacobs is a young Black creative who engages in poetic activism, community organizing and is a published author. She broke ground as @shewillspeak
on Instagram and is featured on numerous platforms such as Frolic, Asbury Park Press and N.O.W. After the release of her second book, she founded the She Will Speak Series, which curates bi-annual anthologies with the mission to build a community through the empowerment of women with education, awareness and the arts to cultivate healing and change.
Jacobs spoke to a combined Upper School/Middle School audience for two keynotes, where she first discussed naming our emotions and identifying the incidents, traumas or triggers that impact us. Students heard that it’s okay to feel their emotions, and that their feelings are valid no matter what they are.
She reiterated that much of how we’re taught to deal with our emotions we learn at a young age, through both our families and our surroundings. Jacobs spoke about how trauma can be generational and taught, but that healing is generational, too, and encouraged students to focus on the healing.
Jacobs shared a few of the practices she uses on her journey of healing, which included grounding techniques
, thought-stopping techniques, meditation, playlists and auditory distraction, like watching your favorite movie because you know you’ll feel good at the end. She also encouraged students to learn how to talk to themselves—having “staff meetings” with your yourself on how you’re doing. “Physical health is impacted by your mental health,” Jacobs said.
In the second session, Jacobs encouraged everyone to “unlearn the thoughts the no longer serve you,” which she attributed to her life coach, Astrid Ferguson. She shared the power of affirmations
and talked about giving ourselves the grace to make mistakes. Jacobs also discussed the importance of boundaries and how they help us maintain the space needed to allow our affirmations to flourish. After each keynote session, students broke into discussion groups to share and reflect on what they’d just learned.
After lunch, the Middle School gathered to discuss how our surroundings and environment can impact us and affect our emotions. The student split into 5th/6th grade and 7th/8th grade groups to brainstorm how to improve the interior and exterior of the Middle School to promote joy and make the space more enjoyable.
For any students or parents interested in joining Jacobs’ She Will Speak Cohort or Poetry Classes, you can find more information or sign up on her website. You can also listen to Peer Ed's Ship Day Spotify playlist.