This Monday marked history for Westside High School with the first meeting of the Positive Vibe Tribe. The Positive Vibe Tribe (PVT) is a counselor-guided club of sorts started by senior Ashley Galang. Galang notes her investment in, and original concept for, the tribe stems from her own struggles with mental illness, an issue she knows many of her fellow students struggle with as well.
The tribe is advertised all across the halls of Westside with many different posters, as well as hand-delivered invitations given to specific individuals whom the counselors and Galang consider to be opportune students to participate in the group. Despite this, all students are welcome to join. The tribe meets in Mrs. Maraghy’s room, Portable 8, immediately outside the schools far-west door. The meetings take place at 11:10am, during second lunch on B-days. If students have second lunch already, they are welcome to attend third lunch following their attendance of the meeting.
Counselors such as Ms. Brown and Mr. Rosales observe the meeting and guide discussions, as well as lead activities. In the first meeting of the PVT, an activity with Skittles was preformed as an icebreaker immediately following the introduction of the basic rules. The atmosphere seemed tense, but Brown and Galang were supportive and patient with all in attendance and prioritized the comfort of all students.
“I think it’s an incredibly cute and well-meaning idea,” senior Victoria Lopez notes. “I don’t feel comfortable to participate myself, but I really respect the idea,” Tristan Feder adds. Both students have Ms. Maraghy for their 7th period and are there to witness the meetings but are not required to participate.
Participation in, or at least consideration thereof, the Positive Vibe Tribe is heavily encouraged. It’s not often students get an opportunity to share their feelings openly and connect with other students in a safe and welcoming environment, and the movement towards mental health awareness by Westside staff is hard to brush off. The generation of students currently attending Westside have the highest rate of depression and other debilitating mental illnesses. And now, some are starting to move towards addressing it.