Student Activism

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Before I was in Junior High, I was always the shy tiny little Filipino girl who always kept her thoughts to herself. Whenever I had a thought about something, I always kept it to myself because I never wanted to explain my thoughts, but that all changed when I got to 7th grade. When I first got to Junior High, I was still shy, but I broke out of my shell near the middle of the year because that was when I actually learned how to speak for myself and share my thoughts about something.

Now you are probably wondering how in the world would my personal past relate to teen activism right? Actually it does because when you are a shy person who tends to sit in the back in the room and counts the minutes until class is over, you are not a very good teen activist. A teen activist is person who actually wants to be heard, who tries to answer as many questions as possible, or gives their opinions on topics others have. Now, that is what a person could be. If you are the description I just explained a few seconds ago, then you are the perfect person who would like to be a student activist.

Let me explain student activism: It is when kids and teens take part in changing the world. I think that there are many ways to change the world and your future. You could first start with changing your school. Some people might say, “What could you change in our school or how we are able to?” The answer to that to question is your voice. Everyone in the around was born with a voice, but some chose not to use it. If you have a voice, you could change a whole lot of things around you, even if it’s just starting really small like writing letters to your teacher, principal, or superintendent, it could change a lot.

You might think that the community is fine and doesn’t need any change, but actually it might. If you take Unalaska for example, we seriously need a recycling center. I know right, what kind of place does not have recycling center?! But actually, we don’t have one, well anymore. A long time ago we used to have a recycling center, but it closed down. Now you are probably thinking why in the world would you close it? There is actually a good reason why it happened. If you think about it, a recycling center on an island is pretty expensive. You don’t really need to pay for anybody to work there because most of them volunteer, but you have to pay for somebody to ship it all the way to Anchorage or someplace that is big enough to handle it and they have to process it. So ultimately, I do think that a recycling center is a great idea, but the down fall on this topic is that you need to find a way to economically support this center if you want to keep it running. Even though there is a down fall to that thought, there is always an upside to that which is an alternative. What better alternative to this than conservation.
Recycling and conservation are both topics that I absolutely and completely am passionate about because recycling could save material instead of wasting it. Conservation could help in so many different ways. Most people think about conservation as turning off your lights when you are not using them or turning off your faucet right after you are done using it, but there is much more than those two ideas. Conservation can have to do with anything that has to do with anything that saves and or reduces your. For example, many could conserve in a home by turning off the all the lights when they are not being used, reduce the time spent on the computer, or even taking less time in the shower. If people start to do things like that in your home, you save money on your utility bills. But, if you aren’t really into those kinds of activism, you could do other things like volunteering in your community. Great places to volunteer are at the Senior Center, Elementary School, or spending your time after school helping younger students with homework.

Another step further is moving up to state activism. State activism could be very helpful to others besides just people in your community. It could help the state or it could help other communities in your state. An example of state wide activism is Saving Shishmaref. Shismaref is a small community in the state of Alaska that is eroding away into the Chukchi Sea. Right now, the school in Shishmaref started a program called SOS (Save Our Shishmaref) that is trying to raise money to help relocate their village to another area. There are also other simple ways of being a teen activist in your state by writing letters to your state government or etc.

When taking part in activism, there are so many different ideas and thoughts that could be used. For example, my passion in activism is recycling and conservation, but last year a senior had a different passion. It was helping others in less fortunate countries. The program she started on our island was called Pennies for Peace. The campaign “Pennies for Peace” was an organization that helped less fortunate girls in Asia pay for school.

I care so much about teen activism because many people could get more out of life if you participate rather than sitting around and just listening. It is a very great thing if you can listen, but isn’t better if you could have both traits? I sure think it would, even if you are still developing those traits just like me. Later down the road, those characteristics will take you wherever you want to be in life. Another reason why to be a teen activist is that many teens could change things all around them. When somebody changes something important, it affects everyone around them and affects the future.





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