In March and April, sophomores took on social ills that exist in today’s world with a multi-faceted exhibit. The event stemmed from a research and writing project that went well beyond the classroom. In it, CHS English teacher Tanya Russell encouraged her students to do more than make observations about a particular atrocity or human rights violation, to take it a step further by creating projects with real-world purpose, projects that took action.
Sophomore Althea Brennan wrote the following about their project:
“Over the past few weeks, Chatham High School sophomores have been hard at work in English class researching, writing, and advocating for change regarding human rights violations. Students were encouraged to choose subjects meaningful to them, and conducted extensive research in hopes to have a more comprehensive understanding on the issues plaguing our world today. The topics chosen spanned the entire globe, ranging from human trafficking in India and ethnic cleansing in Burma, to domestic violence in the United States, and solitary confinement in American prisons. Students wrote research papers on the chosen violation, making poignant points about these atrocities, and what is being done now.
The project didn’t stop there. With the ills of our nation and our world stuck in their heads, the next step of activism came naturally. The sophomores all developed their own personalized action plan: a way to create real, meaningful change in regard to their human rights violation. The actions, which are currently underway, encompassed the truly broad reach of activism. Some students chose to make political cartoons or public service announcements, while others wrote to congressmen and women or published pieces in local newspapers. The outcomes of these projects gave stage to the abomination of rights all over the world, but also showcased the work of these sophomores to change the things they see as wrong.”
The project culminated in a special public exhibit the sophomores organized called “Take Action Night.” The students invited the community to visit the High School library the evening of April 6, witness the students’ outreach, and maybe take a little action themselves to make our world a better place.
Attendees included state assemblyman John McLaughlin, Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner, school staff, parents and other members of our community.