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Page history last edited by Barret Rus 4 years, 4 months ago

Question #3:                                                                                                                            Change can only be implemented by those who are willing to create it. Many young people believe that their voice cannot be heard due to their age or their lack of experience, and do not take action in their communities. I used to be a part of this inaction, but I realized the potential impact that my actions can have on the community around me when I ventured down to Annapolis during my sophomore year of high school, and successfully lobbied for the passing of a bill that limited poor conditions for animals who were being housed in “roadside zoos”. The successes in Annapolis inspired me to create change at my school. Last year, I successfully lobbied my school superintendent, Dr. Dallas Dance, to help Franklin High School receive a much needed new track. I also helped to revise my school lunch system, incorporating new, creative snack sized portions into the menu. Now that my senior year of high school is coming to an end, I know that I have little time to continue to create change in my community. I understand I will not reap the benefits of any potential changes I would help to implement this school year, but I hope that my drive to create change in my community will inspire underclassmen to continue on this pathway of change.                                                                                                                               While there are many problems with the facilities at Franklin High School, the real issue that the school faces is a culture of indifference. Franklin students lack school spirit and are not proud to say that they are a part of the Franklin community. The only way to combat this indifference is to encourage students to become more invested in the school. I want to create a mandatory extracurricular program at my school to ensure that students have a greater stake in the Franklin community. The plan would require Franklin students to participate in at least one extracurricular activity over the course of the school year. This activity could be a sport, student government, service clubs, cultural clubs, or participation in the school play. Participation in any activity at the school will ensure that students are staying out of trouble, and are interacting with other students who have similar interests. Students will become invested in their extracurricular activity and understand the time and effort that goes into participation in these activities. This understanding will help to ensure increased attendance at all school functions, and ensure that students are excited and proud to be a part of the Franklin Community.                                          With the concept of understanding in mind, I would also create an Interfaith/Interracial Council at Franklin, to help cultivate understanding and diversity on school grounds. I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and am thankful to be a part of a large Jewish community. However, even in this large Jewish community, I have still experienced Anti-Semitism. The root of this Anti-Semitism is ignorance. Students simply do not understand or respect cultures and religions that differ from their own beliefs. The purpose of the Interfaith/Interracial Council will be to facilitate discussion and understanding, and to help people see issues from different points of view. I have developed an understanding of this power of diversity as member of the organization, Students Taking Action for Change (STAC). One major aspect of the program is participating in events with the Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP). The demographics of my STAC group, twenty, white, Jewish, mostly private school educated students, contrasted heavily with the ECYP teens, a mainly African American group from Baltimore City. My bimonthly meetings with the group provided a valuable source of debate and discussion, especially during the recent unrest in Baltimore City.                                                                             While changing the mindsets of students in my school is essential, even more important is changing the way these students are taught. I am currently enrolled in the Independent Research Course at my school, and I am researching the effects of life skills education in the high school curriculum. My classmates and I are always questioning “When will this be used in the real world?” The implementation of life skills education will ensure that students are receiving knowledge that can be applied to the real world. Life skills education will include money management, stock market understanding, entrepreneurial skills, professionalism in the workplace, and networking skills. These classes will contain content that gives students direction for their work and allows them to compete in the real world. This new education plan is essential at Franklin, because many students do not have positive influences from their family. These classes will fill in the gaps created by a lack of real world education from parents. Students involved in life skills classes will learn how to become better citizens, how to relate to other people, how to manage situations, and how to manage information. They will be armed with the tools to create change in the world around them.                                                                                                   As I look back at my high school career, I am happy that I have called Franklin High School home for the past four years. Many of my friends, afraid of the “disruptive” student population and old facilities, shied away from Franklin, instead opting to go to expensive private schools. These friends do not understand the power of diversity and cannot operate in a world that is different than their own world. I wouldn’t change my four years at Franklin for any other experience, and I am proud to have facilitated change at my school and pass on this spirit of change to underclassmen.    



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