On Thursday, April 4, I walked through the doors of CVU High School and braced for the frigid cold beside my fellow peers and teachers. We walked with purpose toward the south side of the school building to where our flagpole stands. As I neared the flagpole, I saw more and more students and staff forming a large huddle around the tall metal pole. Students were chatting excitedly to one another despite the cold wind cutting through the crowd, and a gray blanket of clouds spread across the sky overhead. Before us stood the proud members of CVU’s Racial Alliance Committee, readying themselves to acknowledge the crowd that had gathered in front of them before raising, at long last, a Black Lives Matter flag.

As members of the committee stepped up front to speak to the crowd below, the sense of a joined and strengthened community whispered through the air. Students and teachers had their faces turned up to each speaker, applauding them whenever there was room to and soaking in every word that was spoken. Each committee member who spoke aloud to us spoke of perseverance for improvement in our world and how the raising of this flag is a great step in the right direction for our community.

It felt truly incredible to stand beside my peers who had taken time out of their schedules to step outside with a joined purpose of showing our support for this movement that we each believed in. The ceremony came to an end with a small chorus group of students singing of love conquering hate as the flag was raised up to the top of the flagpole.

Even after the flag raising was completed and students returned to their regular classes, the day continued to reflect the positive ideas and meanings that were left open for each of us from the ceremony. I will continue to appreciate this amazing community with its ability to embrace and strive for new ideas that will help to better our people as a whole, which is exactly what this flag raising has done. And I hope that we continue to take these inspirational steps towards bettering our community to be a safe and welcoming place to those of all backgrounds and lifestyles.

Olivia Hagios lives in Charlotte and is a junior at CVU.