Transcendental…. What?


This year was freshman English teacher Alison Fordice’s eighth annual Non-Conformity Day for members of the DMAE freshman class and students once again stepped out of their comfort zones for the event. On this day the people of DMAE witnessed things such as boys wearing eyeliner, students “sagging” their pants, and one tall freshman wearing a cowboy hat.

“I was really excited about Non-Conformity Day but I found it hard to decide on what to do,” said freshman Mia Sclafani about the event.

This year Non-Conformity Day kicked off on May 1, 2014.  The task for Non-Conformity Day was for students to express Emerson’s transcendentalism values from his famous books called Walden and Self-Reliance by not being themselves. The students were given a pass for the entire day in order to stay in their non-conformist persona so teachers and other people around the school would know what was going on without having to ask. This event was not new for staff and students at DMAE, but always comes as a surprise.

“Some teachers do not appreciate this day taking up their class time but I believe that it takes an entire day for the students to actually take something out of the experience,” Ms. Fordice explained. NON CONFORMIST 1 Crojas 5 23 14

The lesson for every class was to explain, listen and respond. The entire class was gathered around in a circle so that students could take turns describing themselves and how they represented a non-conformist value. Then students discussed how they viewed each other differently and how others had reacted to them during the day.

Many students at DMAE left that day with more knowledge about their lives and their human identities.

“I learned that when people act how they truly are that more people tend to judge them and treat them harshly and worse than they normally would when they conform to society,” freshman Nehemiah Coeller said.

Upperclassmen joined in the Non-Conformity Day event again this year by leading the discussion during class. This is because during her class periods Ms. Fordice was “not herself” and had two upperclassmen teach the lesson.

“This was the second year I had upperclassmen teach the lesson,” Ms. Fordice said. “It helps me to keep track and grade my students precisely to see if they follow their non-conformist persona while answering questions that lead to a class discussion,” she explained.

The Non-Conformity project was actually split up into three parts.  This year’s freshmen had to write a one-page paper on explaining their persona.  Next, they all had to perform their non-conformist persona from 8 am-4 pm. Finally, they had to write a two-page reflection paper on what they learned from their experience of participating in Non-Conformity Day.

If any student was sick or missed the day, Ms. Fordice required them to perform the activity on a separate day.

“I wish I was not sick on Non-Conformity Day; doing the activity on another day when no one knew about it was extremely awkward and it is not as fun as I heard it was supposed to be,” said freshman Johana Lopez with much regret from missing out on the unforgettable freshman event.