Four years ago, Boys’ Latin created the One Laker One Love Day to educate its students on the importance and severity of relationship violence. The One Laker One Love club has increasingly become one of the most popular and proactive clubs on campus; they have done a fantastic job organizing and leading One Laker One Love Day each year. The focus of One Love Day varies year by year, and this year the focus was directly correlated to the mission of the One Love Foundation.
On April 6th, Boys’ Latin held its annual One Laker One Love Day and consisted of guest speakers, workshops, and classroom discussions. Students were eager to participate in discussions and learn the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy relationship. Additionally, students were taught the proper steps to approach an individual who is either the victim or culprit of an unhealthy relationship.
The day got off to a fantastic start thanks to the opening speeches given by Brian Farrell, Ashley McCullough, and Catherine Bathleme. All three addressed the upper school student body on the joy and happiness that Yeardley brought to their lives and how her tragic death opened their eyes to the significance and awareness of relationship violence. Farrell’s speech hit home for many students when he reminisced about the days of “crashing on her couch at UVA every fall having some of the best times of my life with her.”
“It was awesome to have those three start off our day in such a powerful manner,” Booth said.
The rest of the day entailed grade-level activities, small group workshops, and additional speeches given by health representatives from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. In only a day, the Boys’ Latin community became significantly more educated and aware of this prominent issue.
Upper School English teacher Stephanie Fenstermaker spent the afternoon in the student commons listening to her former student Luke Shilling, class of 2017 and former student-leader of the One Love club, speak to the freshmen and sophomore classes. Fenstermaker said Shilling shared his passion for the cause and encouraged students to say something if they see any signs of relationship violence.
The overarching message of the day was for students to become more aware and recognize behaviors that reflect a healthy or unhealthy relationship; behaviors that resembled a healthy relationship were awarded a #ThatsLove hashtag, whereas behaviors that condoned an unhealthy relationship represented the #ThatsNotLove hashtag.
Every member of the community was given a t-shirt to show the unified effort and commitment to make a change. Blibaum did a phenomenal job this year in designing a shirt that represents such a special day to this school.
The One Love Foundation was created in memory of Yeardley Love who tragically died at the University of Virginia after being beaten to death by her boyfriend. Love, who grew up in Baltimore and graduated from the Notre Dame Preparatory school before enrolling at UVA to play lacrosse, made an everlasting impact on everyone she touched and knew. In memory of Love, her mother and sister created the One Love Foundation to raise awareness about relationship violence and educate young adults on the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Upper School faculty members Andrew Robinson and Megan Kenney were approached by former Boys’ Latin students Jack Pezzulla and David Modell four years ago about the possibility of having a One Love Club at BL. Since the birth of the club in 2015, Robinson and Kenney have been at the helm of the club and work tirelessly to plan and organize One Laker One Love Day each year. This year, Boys’ Latin is fortunate to have seniors Tucker Booth, Josh Blibaum, and Chris Brandau represent the club as the student leaders; in order to become a student-leader, they must complete a workshop on relationship violence that was created by the One Love Foundation.
“One Laker One Love Day continues to evolve each year. Events like this make BL such a special place and it’s awesome to get up every morning knowing I get to work at a place like BL,” said Kenney
Booth, Brandau, and Blibaum have been a mainstay in the club for a couple of years and contribute a great deal to the club and to One Love Day. Each obtains different roles within the club and contributes to One Love Day in a variety of ways. The triumvirate joined the club to become more educated on relationship violence and help raise awareness.
“I wanted to get involved after learning about the club itself and realizing that relationship violence wasn’t talked about as prevalent as it should have been. Love’s story hit home because I grew up in the same community as her and the impact that she had on the lacrosse community definitely encouraged me to join,” Brandau said.
The One Laker One Love Club and the One Love foundation deserve a great deal of recognition for the organization of this day. Boys’ Latin continues to be committed to this cause, and events like this are the reason why BL is such a special place.