Schools

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Make America Great Again Hat

Picking Battles

by Rachel Harris

Not to be dramatic, but my blood boils whenever I see someone in Trump paraphernalia. Luckily, this is rarely an issue for me. My area of New York is notoriously liberal (Hillary Clinton lives 15 minutes from my house!), and I rarely encounter anyone diametrically opposed to me. However, I’m reminded on occasion that my town isn’t always the liberal bubble I make it out to be. 

March on Washington for Gun Control

A L’chaim to Gun Control

by Kara Sherman

“He who saves one life… is as if he saves an entire universe. He who destroys a life… is as if he destroys an entire universe” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5).

Sofia Gardenswartz with Friend Diana

Dialogue with Diana

by Sofia Gardenswartz

October 2016 was a difficult month. It was the month that Donald Trump started to become a truly scary candidate to me. It was also the month in which my family lost one of our beloved dogs to cancer. Amidst all this, my family was hosting a Chinese exchange student, Diana, in our home for a couple weeks. She was incredibly supportive and understanding as my family grappled with these tumultuous events.

Minnah Stein with Sign

Unpopular But Important

by Minnah Stein

When you talk about sexual assault, you automatically become unpopular. People don’t want to talk to you because they know that they aren’t going to like what you have to say. This feeling of being unpopular is one that I’ve become accustomed to. Five years ago I heard an NPR program on sexual assault, and I’ve been dedicated to bringing an end to this epidemic ever since. Being a sexual assault activist isn’t an easy job, but it’s the one I’ve chosen.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

Eyes Wide Open

by Shira Small

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

Landscape Photo by Tamar Cohen

Perspectives on Tragedy

by Tamar Cohen

My ears ring. My stomach churns. Have I put down my pencil? At this point, I don't know. More than anything, I'm confused. How could someone possibly think that? How is it that I can't think of any logical arguments against their point of view? 

Topics: Schools
Rising Voices Fellow Sofia Gardenswartz Reading Grace Paley

Paley’s Power on the Daily

by Sofia Gardenswartz

Last year, my AP English class read the short prose poem “Mother” by Grace Paley. What struck me the most was its mundane nature. This is a characteristic of nearly all of Paley’s work; she wrote in detail about the daily lives of women—a topic that, when she was writing in the 1940’s, was viewed as tangential to the “real” work of male authors writing bestsellers like The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) or The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). 

Topics: Schools, Poetry

Marcia Marker Feld

The first woman to earn a PhD in urban planning from Harvard University, Marcia Marker Feld dedicated her career to teaching the next generation of urban planners to base their work on the needs and desires of a community instead of imposing their own visions on neighborhoods.

Judith Rodin

In 1994 Judith Seitz Rodin became the first permanent woman president of an Ivy League school when she took the helm of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mychal Springer

Mychal Springer created the Center for Pastoral Education to enable hospital chaplains of all backgrounds to learn from Jewish models for visiting the sick while incorporating the wisdom of other pastoral traditions.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Pipetting DNA into a Gel

To Girls Taking Their First STEM Classes

by Caroline Kubzansky and Maya Jodidio
If you’re a female-identifying teen and you attend high school, chances are good that you take, or will take, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class. Physics, biology, and chemistry are the usual suspects. We’re writing to share some collective wisdom with you from our own high-school experience.
Young and Feminist Cover

Young and Feminist

by Bella Book

Abby Richmond has published four books, written for various publications, donated over $5,000 to nonprofits, and led a grassroots campaign for Hillary Clinton. Oh, and she’s seventeen.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Books Stock Photo

In Charlottesville’s Wake, Avoiding the “Ivory Tower”

by Caroline Kubzansky
Here is how I will respond to the horrors of Charlottesville as a student activist. Discussion is great, activism (in this case) is better.

Shulamith Katznelson

Shulamith Katznelson helped make Israel a home for a wider range of people as both a pioneer of Hebrew-immersion programs and an advocate for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Illustration from Stop Sexual Assaults in Schools Cropped

Combatting Sexual Harassment and Assault in Schools

by Sara Lebow

Esther Warkov, a Jewish enthnomusicologist, describes herself as a latecomer to activism. She is now the Executive Director and Co-Founder ofStop Sexual Assault in Schools, an organization that focuses on sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools.

Governor Nathan Deal

Making a Deal with Governor Deal

by Aliza Abusch-Magder

Having received excellent sex education when in middle school, I have become somewhat of a “sex educator” for my peers, and I am often shocked by how unknowledgeable some of them are. With the safety and healthy development of Georgia’s youth in mind, I urge you to support comprehensive sex education. 

First Lady Michelle Obama with Students

Nutritious School Lunches for All

by Sarah Biskowitz

Sometimes when I babysit, kids don’t like the meals I prepare for them. They scrunch their noses and whine “ewww!” at the nutritious food on their plates; but then I explain to them how carrots make their eyesight sharper, yogurt makes their bones stronger, and whole-grain pasta gives them the energy to play. Wanting to be strong and healthy, the kids listen and eat up.

Charlie Baker

Tuition-Free College: Good for Students and Good for Massachusetts

by Lili Klayman

My name is Lili Klayman, and I am a junior at Mansfield High School. I am writing to you in the hopes that you and your administration will consider implementing tuition-free college for students in Massachusetts who struggle to pay for college. Many of my fellow students are unable to attend college due to their socioeconomic status; this is simply unfair, and prohibits promising students from reaching their full potential, and contributing all they can to society. 

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney

Please, Sir, May We Have Some More?

by Diana Myers

I have attended city public schools all my life, and know firsthand the various difficulties Philadelphia students have faced over the years, especially those as a result of extensive budget cuts. Even though I’m very fortunate to go to a high-performing and well-funded school, I’m aware that that’s not the case for every school in the city. 

Students Studying in College Library

Balancing Academic Freedom and the Right to Bear Arms

by Hannah Himmelgreen

Gun control is an undeniably controversial topic, and while an individual may be entitled to their constitutional right to bear arms, allowing unrestricted carry of weapons does nothing to prevent mass school violence.  

Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Biskowitz with Grandmother Helene

A Girl Grows Up in Brooklyn

by Sarah Biskowitz

“It was the magic age of growing up in Brooklyn,” my grandmother Helene told me as she recounted her idyllic 1940s and 1950s childhood. “A lot of people came out of Brooklyn, and it was a great place to grow up…Bernie Sanders was in my class...Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated a year ahead of my brother…” 

Rising Voices Fellow Madisen Siegel with her Best Friend Lucy

She Has Pink Hair and Just Doesn't Care

by Madisen Siegel

Lucy is easy to find. It’s easy to spot her bobbing pink hair in the crowd, though it might have a blue or purple undertone now. Even before she started dying her hair last year, Lucy made herself known. Whether it’s by singing at the top of her lungs – with perfect pitch, by the way – or boldly introducing herself to strangers left and right, Lucy is not like everyone else.

Topics: Schools, Music, Cantors
Laila Goodman

Sexism, Spirituality, and Science: The Story of Laila Goodman

by Eden Olsberg

Laila Goodman isn’t your average high school biology teacher. Her class is regularly filled with personal anecdotes from her life, and her office is regularly filled with students seeking advice. One of my most memorable interactions with her was talking about her experiences as a doula, and then later looking at an album of birthing photos.

Cecile Ruth Sands

Cecile Ruth Sands served for six years as the only woman on the New York City Board of Education, where she took a stand against McCarthyism and advocated for school integration.
Emma Stone

The 21st Century Scarlet Letter: A Look at How the High School Rumor Mill Affects Teenage Sexuality

by Hannah Himmelgreen

I was a sophomore when I first stumbled across Easy A on my Netflix browser one lonely Friday night. The green poster, exclaiming in bold lettering, “Let’s Not and Say We Did,” was the first thing to pop up under the “Top Picks For Hannah” banner. It instantly grabbed my attention. Intrigued, I clicked play. 

Topics: Schools, Film, Fiction
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