By Cameron M. Bray ’16
Say what you will about the Summit, but it is uniquely Brophy and is one of the biggest events of the year.
Not many other high schools in the country take time out of their busy schedules to discuss the difficult issues of today, such as the U.S. prison system and its shortcomings.
Not many, I can imagine, and that it is why I would say the Summit is such a blessing upon our school.
The Summit allows us to look critically and academically at the systemic and overarching problems of our society and to make our own judgments about those issues.
During my three years at Brophy, the Summit has dealt with three very controversial and touchy issues in American society: income inequality, race and the prison system.
Throughout these three Summits, there was meaningful discussion and thoughtful debate surrounding these difficult issues.
And by offering keynote speakers and workshop presenters from a variety of backgrounds, these Summits allowed students to learn about the difficult realities of today from different angles and to contemplate them.
This Summit was no different.
One of the things I think this Summit did well, as it has done in the past, was offer keynote speakers and workshop presenters from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Speakers such Mr. Shaka Senghor and Mr. Carlos Cervantes touched our hearts, recounting their experiences both inside and outside prison, while activists such as the Tim and Noelle Nightingale and Mrs. Janet Connors preached forgiveness in restorative justice.
Students even participated, adding their own perspectives to the discussions.
For instance, Maanik Chotalla ’16 and Tarun Suresh ’16 gave a presentation entitled “A Clockwork Orange is the New Black” (a title, they conceded, that was just a riff off the popular Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black”) that discussed restorative versus retributive justice.
In addition, I think what the Summit does well is enlighten the student body of the unfortunate realities of today.
For example, did you know that the United States has a recidivism rate of 53 percent (an estimated 53 percent of all prisoners are incarcerated again within three years) or that one in every 100 U.S. adults is behind bars? I certainly didn’t until I heard Mr. Barry Frank’s presentation in the chapel entitled “Recidivism and ‘The System.’”
Or how much did you know about the history of capital punishment with all its bloody executions including hangings, disembowelments, beheadings, quarterings and emasculations? I didn’t know much until I heard Mr. Peitzmeyer’s presentation, “Evolving Standards of Decency: Trending Toward Abolition of the Death Penalty.”
I learned a lot during the keynote addresses and during my three workshops. I imagine the same is true for many other students.
The Summit spurs students to contemplation and perhaps even action. And for this reason, as well as others, I believe that this year’s Summit was a success and that the Summit should continue to be an integral part of the academic year.