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A Decade of Love: BL Marks Tenth One Laker | One Love Day

A Decade of Love: BL Marks Tenth One Laker | One Love Day

Friday, April 19th, marked a milestone at Boys’ Latin: one decade of One Laker | One Love. As they have annually since 2015, the entire School community observed the day with programming focused on healthy relationships. 

The One Laker | One Love Day grew out of a student-led initiative and partnership with the One Love Foundation, which was created by Sharon Love. Ms. Love’s daughter Yeardley Love, a Baltimore native and University of Virginia student and lacrosse player, tragically lost her life at the hands of her former boyfriend in 2010. 

In response to that tragedy, Sharon Love founded the One Love Foundation, a national non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness and end relationship abuse. Boys’ Latin was not only the first school in the nation to establish a One Love Student Club but the first school to be named a One Love Certified HERO School. Today, Boys’ Latin is a flagship school for the One Love Foundation. The One Love Club continues to grow each year and is among the most popular clubs on campus.

BL’s upper school One Love Club runs the annual One Laker | One Love Day, which is designed to empower students to promote healthy relationships and call out signs of unhealthy ones. The main event of this year’s multifaceted program was a powerful keynote address from longtime Virginia women’s lacrosse coach and current CEO of the One Love Foundation, Julie Myers. Coach Myers was Yeardley Love’s coach at the time of her death in 2010, and she recounted the emotionally wrenching aftermath of the tragedy. She also spoke of the importance of cultivating healthy relationships and the many lessons learned through Yeardley’s tragic death.

“Relationship health is the biggest influence on your overall health and happiness,” she said, before urging the community to “please take a couple extra minutes to think through all of your relationships. Where can they get better? Where are they solid?”

“I thought Coach Myers was great,” commented director of counseling and One Love faculty sponsor Megan Kenney, “She’s a total straight shooter, and she had the guys locked in.”

Following the speech, all students and faculty took to the middle school turf where they arranged themselves in the formation of the One Love heart logo as a drone snapped pictures from above. Proceedings were accompanied by music, as Matt Pisarcik and George Bareford led an instrumental and vocal ensemble in a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me.” As in previous years, students and faculty wore matching t-shirts for the occasion. This year’s edition was a light blue shirt designed by ninth grader Cade Bruning ‘27.

Following lunch, the upper school had a busy afternoon. Led by Ms. Kenney, her co-sponsor, the English department’s Jon Becker, and a team of student leaders, the One Love Club set up a variety of activities based on the theme of healthy relationships. Activities took place all over campus and ranged from physical contests like potato sack and three-legged races, to quieter reflections and letter-writing. 

“We always try to implement an interactive component,” said Ms. Kenney, “I loved that the kids were able to be active, to do super-simple everyday things that we could apply to [the theme of] healthy relationship signs.”

Under the guidance of counselors Cassidy Belz and Adele Black, the middle and lower schools participated in the day as well. Eighth graders paired up with buddies from the lower school, and rotated through stations run by sixth and seventh graders. Activities included Twister, a blindfolded obstacle course, and dodgeball. “[Lower school students] loved having middle school partners to share the day with!” raved Ms. Black.

Ms. Kenney was quick to praise her student team for the day’s successes, especially student leaders Ryan Kelly ‘24, Trace Davanzo ‘24, Cole Quenzer ‘24, and Sean Crowley '24: “They were great. If we gave them a task, they would follow through right away.”

For his part, senior Trace Davanzo has been pleased with the club’s accomplishments and its continued growth throughout his time in high school.

“It’s so important to spread awareness,” said Trace, “With this being a big lacrosse community, [Yeardly Love’s story] hits especially hard for some people. Guys just want to join the club to help this cause.”